Improving State Capacity to Target Extreme Poverty: An Evaluation of a Randomized Intervention in Bangladesh
Last registered on June 30, 2021

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Improving State Capacity to Target Extreme Poverty: An Evaluation of a Randomized Intervention in Bangladesh
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0004510
Initial registration date
December 27, 2019
Last updated
June 30, 2021 7:52 AM EDT
Location(s)

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Primary Investigator
Affiliation
University of Konstanz
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
University of Konstanz
PI Affiliation
University of Konstanz
PI Affiliation
University of Konstanz
PI Affiliation
University of Zurich
PI Affiliation
University of Dhaka
Additional Trial Information
Status
On going
Start date
2019-09-15
End date
2021-12-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
This research project aims to contribute to the understanding of how the selection of beneficiaries of social transfers can be improved. While most of the existing impact evaluations have focused on monitoring, incentives and accountablility, they have largely ignored that local government representatives responsible for these services may simply lack the ability to respond to public demands. Our project intends to contribute to the understanding of the role of state capacity in improving the allocation and targeting performance of old-age allowances in Bangladesh. Our formative primary data collection documents that local representatives lack the knowledge and tools to target the benefits according to the guidelines by the national government. We therefore aim to evaluate a state-capacity-building intervention that addresses the existing capacity constraints in two ways: First, by training local representatives on the national government guidelines for the selection of new beneficiaries and second, by providing them with required data on individuals in the target group to enable them to follow the government guidelines. The impact evaluation will focus on assessing whether in treatment unions newly selected beneficiaries are on average more eligible than newly selected beneficiaries in control unions using baseline and endline data from local government representatives as well as endline data from newly selected beneficiaries. The evaluation design will allow us to assess the causal impact of this capacity building intervention and thereby has the potential to generate evidence that can help to make anti-poverty policies in Bangladesh more effective.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Asri, Viola et al. 2021. "Improving State Capacity to Target Extreme Poverty: An Evaluation of a Randomized Intervention in Bangladesh ." AEA RCT Registry. June 30. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.4510-3.0.
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
Intervention Start Date
2020-01-04
Intervention End Date
2020-02-29
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Targeting performance
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
We will assess targeting performance by comparing eligibility of newly selected beneficiaries in treatment and control union using one eligibility measure reflecting the rules as formulated in the government guidelines and one commonly used poverty measure such as probability of poverty index.
Apart from using these aggregated indices, we will also be able to compare whether newly selected beneficiaries in treatment areas are more eligible than newly selected beneficiaries in control areas in terms of individual variables such as land ownership, income, assets and physical weakness and living arrangements with other household members.
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Local government representatives' knowledge of eligibility and priority rules
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Our questionnaire includes questions on the most relevant targeting criteria such as income threshold, land threshold or age cutoff. We will use these variables to generate a knowledge index indicating how familiar local government representatives are with the national guidelines.
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
We randomly assign 80 unions (located in 80 different upazilas) to treatment and control. In the treatment group, we will provide training on the selection guidelines to all 18 selection committee members in the union and the eligibility information card filling to collect data on the elderly in the target group will be carried out by listing officers in 3 out of 9 wards in each union.

Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization is done in office by a computer.
Randomization Unit
The unit of randomization is the upazilla.
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
80 unions
Sample size: planned number of observations
1440 local government representatives 1800 newly selected Old Age Allowance beneficiaries 1200 newly selected Widow Allowance beneficiaries
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
40 treatment unions,
40 control unions
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
0.25 sd of poverty index
Supporting Documents and Materials

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IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
BRAC James P Grant School of Public Health
IRB Approval Date
2019-07-30
IRB Approval Number
2019-021-IR
Analysis Plan

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