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Breaking Barriers San Diego
Last registered on July 16, 2020


Trial Information
General Information
Breaking Barriers San Diego
Initial registration date
September 09, 2019
Last updated
July 16, 2020 3:51 PM EDT

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Primary Investigator
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Additional Trial Information
On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
This analysis, part of a broader study called Building Evidence on Employment Strategies (BEES), is an extension of the Breaking Barriers San Diego evaluation. Breaking Barriers is a San Diego-based program that provided employment services to low-income individuals with a range of disabilities and conditions, using the Individual Placement and Support approach. The program operated in four locations in San Diego county from January 2016 through June 2018. MDRC used a randomized controlled trial to evaluate the program. Between January 2016 and early November 2017, individuals eligible for and interested in receiving Breaking Barriers services were assigned at random to a treatment group, which was offered Breaking Barriers services, or to a control group, which was referred to other publicly available supports. A total of 1,061 individuals enrolled in the study. The initial analysis used data collected through a 15-month follow-up survey administered to the study sample. The main outcomes to be measured as part of the study extension include number of quarters employed and total earnings in the two years following random assignment.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Michalopoulos, Charles and Megan Millenky. 2020. "Breaking Barriers San Diego." AEA RCT Registry. July 16. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.4686-1.1.
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Experimental Details
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Primary outcome variables include the number of quarters employment and total earnings in the two years following random assignment. Secondary outcome variables include a composite measure that includes the benefit amounts received from Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) through the two-year follow-up period.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Measures will be constructed using administrative records such as unemployment insurance data (from the National Directory of New Hires), for outcomes related to employment and earnings, and county-level TANF and SNAP records (from the CalWIN consortium), for outcomes related to public benefits receipt.
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
The study includes one treatment group and one control group. The treatment group was offered services through Breaking Barriers, including career counseling, job search assistance, personalized benefits counseling, supportive services, and follow-along services. The control group was not offered Breaking Barriers services, though members had access to other publicly available supports.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization was done by a web-based MDRC system, which was accessed electronically by Breaking Barriers program staff.
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
1,061 individuals.
Sample size: planned number of observations
1,061 individuals.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
There are 528 individuals in the treatment group, and 533 individuals in the control group.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
An analysis of minimum detectable effects found that the study will be able to detect an impact of approximately 6 to 7 percentage points on employment, assuming a 16 to 25 percent employment rate for the control group (based on MDRC’s FAST study), a two-tailed test with 80 percent power, covariates that accounted for zero percent of the variation, and a significance level of 10 percent.
IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number