The Deventer Social Assistance Benefits Experiment

Last registered on March 24, 2019


Trial Information

General Information

The Deventer Social Assistance Benefits Experiment
Initial registration date
March 24, 2019

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
March 24, 2019, 7:05 PM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.



Primary Investigator

Saxion University of Applied Sciences

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Gemeente Deventer
PI Affiliation
Saxion University of Applied Sciences
PI Affiliation
Saxion University of Applied Sciences

Additional Trial Information

On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
In 2015, the Participation Act introduced a new law on income and participation in the Netherlands. The law was intended to implement more decentralized policy and municipalities are expected to take local circumstances into account during implementation. Nevertheless, a number of municipalities found that the implementation of the law was still not flexible enough and have submitted a request to the national Ministry of Social Affairs to experiment for 2 years with a more flexible implementation of the law. Deventer, a city with around 100.000 inhabitants in the eastern part of the country, is one of them. Under the title "What works on the way to work?" some of those entitled to social assistance are guided differently Approximately 400 of the 2400 people who meet the inclusion criteria are followed in 4 different ways for 2 years. One group becomes an intensive treatment, one group intensive digital treatment, one group less intensive treatment with much room for own initiative and for one controlgroup it´s business as usual. A group of 200 other persons will be administratively followed. Tthe objective of the experiment and research is to research which approach leads the most to paid work, but also to, for example, voluntary work or training. We also look at effects on themes such as health and well-being. The study is set up as a randomized controlled trial running from October 2017 till October 2019.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

de Swart, Jack et al. 2019. "The Deventer Social Assistance Benefits Experiment." AEA RCT Registry. March 24.
Former Citation
de Swart, Jack et al. 2019. "The Deventer Social Assistance Benefits Experiment." AEA RCT Registry. March 24.
Experimental Details


This study includes three treatment conditions, one control condition and a reference group. In the control condition, claimants are subject to the rules and regulation of the Dutch status quo social welfare regime. In the three treatment conditions the rules and regulations are varied. The three interventions tested are: (1) claimants are exempted from the usual obligations to maintain their benefit, such as applying for jobs or joining reintegration programmes; (2) claimants receive extra support through tailor-made supervision every two weeks and intensive mediation from the welfare agency (=Deventer Werktalent); (3) claimants receive intensive digital support, including testing, assignments and tailor-made vacancies. In all treatment-groups, claimants are allowed to keep additionalle earned income to max 200 Euro/Month extra, as long as they participate in the study. Every six months, all participants complete a questionnaire with themes such as well-being, job search strategy, trust and health. Additionally, we use administrative data to follow a reference group of randomly selected claimants who were not invited to participate in the trial.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Our primary outcome indicator concerns differences in the uptake of paid work (full time and part time).
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
The uptake of paid work will be measured using administrative micro-data from Statistics Netherlands.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Our secondary outcome indicators are (1) societal participation and social activation, (2) participants’ health and well-being, (3) participants’ satisfaction with the scheme, and (4) recipients’ financial situation.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Societal participation and social activation is measured through self-reported survey data (e.g. hours of volunteer work). Participants’ health and well-being is measured using self-reported survey data (e.g. Mental Health Inventory 5). Participants’ satisfaction with the scheme is measured through self-reported survey data. Participants’ financial situation is measured using administrative data and self-reported survey data.

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
The experiment is a cooperation between the Municipality of Deventer, Deventer Werktalent and Saxion University of Applied Sciences Enschede/Deventer. Participating welfare claimants are randomly assigned to the four different conditions described above (thee treatments groups and one control group). The target population for the experiment consists of all welfare claimants in Groningen, unless participating is a risk or not possible. After selection of 200 claimants for the reference group, about 1500 persons of the target population has been randomized over the four groups. During three moments of intake (oct 2017, feb 2018 and july 2018), claimants were invited to participate for the research project as a whole and after accepting that, for the treatment group. Participation had to be confirmed by signing an informed consent sheet. Participation is voluntary, which means that participants can decide to drop out at any time. In total, 396 claimants have signed up to take part in the study, which makes up for around 16% of the targeted population. Data is collected using administrative data as well as surveys. The first group started in oct 2017 with the treatment questionnaires. Every six months all participants have to fill in the questionnaire. While the first group started 8 before the last group, not all participants have the same amount of questionnaires. Sep-oct 2018 all participants have to fill in the questionnaire for the last time.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
sample of social service administration for the research group as a whole. Then respondents manually randomly assigned to treatment group
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
400 by treatment and 200 only administrive
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Treatment 1 (intensive) 97, treatment 2 (intensive digital) 85, treatment 3 (less intensive) 113, control group 94
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
The goal was to assign at least 100 individuals to each group. The minimum sample size was chosen based on a power test

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number


Post Trial Information

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Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

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Program Files

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Reports, Papers & Other Materials

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Reports & Other Materials