Evaluating the Impact of Psychosocial Support and Cash for Work
Last registered on December 25, 2015


Trial Information
General Information
Evaluating the Impact of Psychosocial Support and Cash for Work
Initial registration date
October 23, 2013
Last updated
December 25, 2015 10:54 PM EST
Primary Investigator
University of California, Berkeley
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
PI Affiliation
Northwestern University
Additional Trial Information
On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Growing populations of unemployed youth in post-conflict countries represent both an opportunity to develop and enhance the economy as well as a potential source of instability. Despite high levels of investment in youth development programs in recent years, little evidence exists on which interventions are most effective in increasing economic opportunities for youth and reducing their risk of participating in violence and risky behaviors. Using a randomized evaluation design, this study aims to evaluate two such programs: Sports for Change (SfC), a program that provides life-skills training and psychosocial support through sports groups, and Cash for Work programs (CfW). The evaluation focuses on outcomes of the program can plausibly change over the course of a year, such as stress levels (measured using biometric data), risk preferences, labor outcomes, tests for aggression, and self-reported risky behaviors. Social network mapping will also be used to provide a rich perspective of linkages and ties of Liberian youth within and outside of their traditional communities.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Beaman, Lori, Niall Keleher and Jeremy Magruder. 2015. "Evaluating the Impact of Psychosocial Support and Cash for Work." AEA RCT Registry. December 25. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.43-3.0.
Former Citation
Beaman, Lori et al. 2015. "Evaluating the Impact of Psychosocial Support and Cash for Work." AEA RCT Registry. December 25. http://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/43/history/6462.
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Experimental Details
The PROSPECTS program involves two complementary interventions:

Sports for Change (SFC)
Sports for Change, implemented by Mercy Corps, will provide youth with life skills training and psychosocial support. This training will entail the following six curriculum modules: identity; making a living; good governance; peace and conflict; environment; and healthy living. The knowledge and skills gained are expected to enable participants to make positive life decisions regarding the livelihoods, health, and actions as citizens.

Mentors will be recruited to be the lead SFC trainers. These mentors will train coaches who are recruited from within the selected communities.

SFC groups will be groups of 40 youth, all of whom are expected to attend weekly sessions of the group. Sports groups will meet 2 times per week for 6-8 weeks. Each meeting will consist of approximately 2 hours of sports and 1-hour of psychosocial training. The SFC groups will meet for a total of 6 to 8 weeks. Coaches will take attendance at each meeting. At each meeting, a new topic will be covered from the designated life skills and psychosocial training modules. During the meetings, youth will be encouraged to play soccer and kickball. All attendees will be provided with a small stipend and lunch. All SFC payments will be made by mobile money payments to the SIM provided at application.

Cash for Work (CFW) Based Recycling Competition
CFW will be organized after Mercy Corps has completed the Sports for Change program for a given community. The Liberian Agency for Community Empowerment (LACE), with support from Mercy Corps, will oversee the implementation of the Cash for Work program in each community.

At the first meeting of CFW groups, Compost Liberia will conduct and orientation and training workshop for recyclable collection. Following the orientation workshop, 15-day Recycling Competitions will be managed by LACE and Mercy Corps.

The basic incentive design in the Recycling Competition is: People receive a $2 minimum daily flat incentive for collecting at least a certain amount of recyclables. There are two additional competitions present in Cash for Work: daily competitions, where the top 5 performers on any individual day receive a prize, and a full 15-day competition where the top 10 performers receive a prize.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Employment, Income, Psychosocial Measures
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
Randomization will be stratified on gender of applicant to ensure equal access for women and men. Logistically, randomization will be completed via public lottery in each community. Women and men will draw a ticket from separate urns. The ticket assigns them to a group for the program and study. Applicants will be informed there are two opportunities, Sports for Change and Cash for Work, and that some people will receive only sports for change, others will receive only cash for work, others will receive both, and others people will receive neither. We anticipate recruiting 3,000 youth in approximately 10 communities:600 youth in SfC only, 600 youth in CfW only, 600 youth in both SfC and CfW, and 1200 youth in control group.

Quantitative data will be collected via a panel survey. Following the public lottery, a baseline and social network survey of all subjects will be conducted. A midline follow-up survey will be conducted 1-2 months after the completion of the PROSPECTS program in each community. An additional round of follow-up surveying will occur 12 months after the baseline survey.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Public lottery
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
3,000 individuals
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
600 youth in SfC only, 600 youth in CfW only, 600 youth in both SfC and CfW, and 1200 youth in control group
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
we can detect an effect of 0.16 standard deviations with 80% power for the main outcomes (employment, income, cortisol)
IRB Name
University of Liberia
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
IRB Name
Northwestern University
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
IRB Name
Innovations for Poverty Action
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Is the intervention completed?
Is data collection complete?
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
Program Files
Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials
Relevant Paper(s)