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Promoting community and labor force engagement through service grants and non-cognitive skills training: A randomized control trial in Kazakhstan
Last registered on September 16, 2019


Trial Information
General Information
Promoting community and labor force engagement through service grants and non-cognitive skills training: A randomized control trial in Kazakhstan
Initial registration date
September 16, 2019
Last updated
September 16, 2019 1:53 PM EDT
Primary Investigator
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Swarthmore College
PI Affiliation
World Bank
PI Affiliation
Additional Trial Information
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Kazakhstan, the largest economy in central Asia, has benefited from relatively strong growth in recent years, and thanks to this growth, the unemployment rate among young people (age 15-28) has been falling steadily. Nonetheless, there remain significant disparities across regions and income levels in youth employment opportunities, and there are also significant barriers to employment for young women. In addition, youth in Kazakhstan face significant challenges beyond obtaining employment, demonstrating high rates of disconnectedness from social institutions and high prevalence of risky behaviors.

Males between 25 and 34 are at highest risk for suicide, and Kazakhstan ranks fifth in the world for its rates of deaths in this category. Primarily qualitative evidence suggests other types of risk-taking (alcoholism, sexual violence and crime) are rising in frequency, and disaffection around social and political institutions is also common. Less than a tenth of young people report they are engaged in solving a community problem, and corruption and abuse are commonly cited as significant challenges (as enumerated in the national report on Youth in Kazakhstan 2011).

Against this backdrop, the Government of Kazakhstan (GoK), with financing from the World Bank, has carried out the Youth Corps Project (YCP), which aims to promote civic and community engagement and labor force engagement of targeted young people through grants for community-based learning and non-cognitive skills training. The project is being implemented by the Coordinating Agency (CA), under the oversight of the Ministry of Education and Sciences. The pilot phase of the project was carried out in 2017 and targeted about 4000 youth across 4 regions/oblast (Almaty, Pavlodar, South Kazakhstan and Karaganda).

This pilot was rolled out as a randomized control trial (RCT) in a two-by-two factorial design, allowing the evaluation to capture both independent effects and joint effects of the YCP’s two main components: (i) grants for community-based service learning; and (ii) training and mentorship activities designed to enhance life/non-cognitive skills of participating youth. This study will investigate impacts of these interventions on key outcomes of interest, including non-cognitive skills and mental well-being; civic and social participation and labor force engagement, among others. The relevant treatment effects will be ascertained in the short-run (9 to 12 months after completion of the interventions) as well as in the long-run (18 to 24 months after completion of the interventions).
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Bhanot, Syon et al. 2019. "Promoting community and labor force engagement through service grants and non-cognitive skills training: A randomized control trial in Kazakhstan ." AEA RCT Registry. September 16. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.4708-1.0.
Experimental Details
This evaluation analyzes two primary interventions: (i) grants for community-based service learning; and (ii) training and mentorship activities designed to enhance non-cognitive skills of participating youth.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Non-cognitive skills; social capital and social engagement; labor market outcomes
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
This impact evaluation analyzes a sample of 3,784 eligible individuals, constituted into 1113 proposal groups. All young people between ages of 18 and 29 in pilot regions were eligible to apply in a group of three to five people as long as they officially resided in the region where the project activities were proposed over the preceding 6 months. As a result of a two-month long information campaign conducted through mass media, social media, billboards, posters, public meetings at universities and local youth centers in both urban and rural areas, 1320 eligible social project proposals were submitted. Following additional evaluation of social importance of the proposals by a committee of local activists, 1113 proposals were deemed as eligible to enter the randomization stage.

Randomization was conducted at the proposal group level using STATA, assigning groups and their individual members to one of three treatment arms (grant only, training only and grant plus training) or the control arm. Project required at least 2,000 grant and stipend recipients, therefore, the sample size is slightly imbalanced across arms.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization was conducted in office by a computer.
Randomization Unit
The randomization unit is a proposal group (consisting of 3-5 youth applying to participate in the program as a group.)
Was the treatment clustered?
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
1113 groups
Sample size: planned number of observations
3784 individuals
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Grant only: 295 groups, 999 individuals
Training only: 263 groups, 894 Individuals
Grant and training: 294 groups, 1,002 Individuals
No program: 294 groups, 1,002 Individuals

Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB Name
Swarthmore College
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
IRB Protocol #17-18-068
Analysis Plan

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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)