Does self-reflection, professional skills, or cash lead to the highest socio-emotional and economic gains for women in Rwanda?

Last registered on November 26, 2021

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Does self-reflection, professional skills, or cash lead to the highest socio-emotional and economic gains for women in Rwanda?
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0004846
Initial registration date
October 14, 2019
Last updated
November 26, 2021, 4:02 PM EST

Locations

Primary Investigator

Affiliation
UC Berkeley Dept of Agricultural and Resource Economics

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Georgetown University
PI Affiliation
Georgetown University

Additional Trial Information

Status
Completed
Start date
2019-08-26
End date
2021-10-31
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Abstract
We randomly assign women participants to one of three conditions. One third of participants are invited to attend Storytelling for Leadership (SfL), a two-day workshop that teaches leadership skills by teaching participants to self-reflect and develop a personal narrative. One third of participants are invited to attend a professional development (PD) workshop, which teaches participants skills including public speaking, networking, goal setting, and identifying new opportunities. The final third of participants are not invited to attend a workshop, but instead receive the per-participant cost of the workshop in cash, approximately USD 35. We hypothesize that women who participated in the Storytelling for Leadership (SfL) workshop will express higher socio-emotional gains than women who participated in the professional development (PD) workshop, and both SfL and PD participants will express higher socio-emotional gains than women in the cash control group, and that these effects hold even when controlling for economic gains. Furthermore, we hypothesize that women who participated in the Storytelling for Leadership (SfL) workshop will express higher economic gains than women who participated in the professional development (PD) workshop, and both SfL and PD participants will express higher economic gains than women in the cash control group.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Lang, Megan, Edward Soule and Catherine Tinsley. 2021. "Does self-reflection, professional skills, or cash lead to the highest socio-emotional and economic gains for women in Rwanda?." AEA RCT Registry. November 26. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.4846-2.0
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Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
We randomly assign participants to one of three conditions. One third of participants are invited to attend Storytelling for Leadership (SfL), a two-day workshop that teaches leadership skills by teaching participants to self-reflect and develop a personal narrative. One third of participants are invited to attend a professional development (PD) workshop, which teaches participants skills including public speaking, networking, goal setting, and identifying new opportunities. The final third of participants are not invited to attend a workshop, but instead receive the per-participant cost of the workshop in cash, approximately USD 35.
Intervention Start Date
2019-09-04
Intervention End Date
2019-10-01

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Socio-emotional: self-advocacy, number of leadership positions currently held, connections within cooperatives, connections within the home and village, problem solving, effective communication.
Economic: estimated income, likelihood of working for money, marginal utility of expenditure.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
We have four measures of self-advocacy. Participants rate on a five-point frequency scale the statements “I ask others to support me”, “I seek out new opportunities”, and “I ask others to connect me to new opportunities.” We also ask, “Suppose you learn about a job that pays RWF 1000 more each day than you currently earn. It is not guaranteed that you will get the job, and it will cost you 2 days wages if you apply. How inclined would you be to apply for the job?” This question is on a four-point scale. We combine all four measures into an equally weighted index to estimate changes.

We have five measures of connection with others in the cooperative: people are likely to come to me for advice, I help others, I have people with whom I feel completely secure, there are people who will stand by me during difficult times, and people know a lot about me. We measure all five outcomes on a five-point frequency scale (almost never true, true less than half the time, true about half the time, true more than half the time, almost always true). We will combine these outcomes into an index, equally weighting each measure, to estimate changes in how connected women feel with others in their cooperative.


We elicit the same five measures of connection with others in participants’ homes and villages as we elicit for others in participants’ cooperatives. Again, we will combine these outcomes into an index.

We have two measures of problem solving, both measured on a five-point scale. We combine these into an index, equally weighting each measure.

We have six measures of effective communication that we combine into an index. Participants rate the following five statements on a five-point frequency scale: I make suggestions to others, if I have a problem or a new idea that would affect or benefit my community I raise it to others in my community, people understand me when I make a suggestion for how to accomplish a task, people understand me when I give them feedback, and people understand what I am saying when I ask them to do something. We also ask whether participants have spoken up in a group situation where they did not know everyone present in the past two weeks.

We ask for an estimate of income earned by the participant over the past month. If a participant cannot provide an estimate, we provide intervals of RWF 5,000 and ask the participant to choose the one that seems closest to what they think they earned. In the case that a participant chooses an interval, we will use the midpoint of the interval as the estimate of income.

We ask participants to describe their current work situation and code one for participants who are working in any form, including an apprenticeship, and zero otherwise.

We calculate each participant’s marginal utility of expenditure using information about household composition and consumption expenditures on a set of eighteen food items following Ligon (2017).

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Socio-emotional: self-perceived social status, connection to workshop group, self-evaluation of value, resilience, self-perception as a leader, aspirations for the future.

Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
We measure self-perceived social status in present, five years in the past, and five years in the past on a scale between one and ten. We examine four measures of changes in self-perceived social status between the baseline and follow-up surveys: (1) current self-perceived social status; (2) self-perceived social status five years from now; (3) difference between current measure and five years in the past; (4) difference between five years from now and five years in the past.

We measure how connected and together participants feel with one another using a six-point scale.

We have two measures eliciting self-value, both of which are on a five-point scale. We combine these into an index, equally weighting each measure.

We have two measures of resilience, both measured on a five-point scale. We combine these into an index, equally weighting each measure.

We ask how closely participants identify as being a leader on a six-point scale.

We have five measures of aspirations for the future. First, does the participant have a role model? Second, does the participant believe that they can ever be as successful as their role model? Third, conditional on answering yes to the second question, how long does the participant think it will take to be as successful as their role model? Fourth, does the participant have a goal they are working toward? Fifth, has the participant achieved the goal they stated for themselves at the start of the study? We estimate effects for all five dimensions separately.

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
We randomize 451 participants into one of three groups.
Experimental Design Details
There are a total of 451 participants in our baseline survey. Our sample was selected by inviting all women between the ages of 25 and 60 who had previously participated in programs run by CARE in Nyagisozi and Cyahinda sectors of Nyaruguru district in Rwanda. In particular, these women are part of economic cooperatives that were initially set up by CARE. We survey all participants once at baseline, once immediately following the workshop (only for those women who participate in a workshop), once six months later, and once one year later.
Randomization Method
Done in an office by a computer.
Randomization Unit
Individual participants.
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
451 women.
Sample size: planned number of observations
We will have 451 individuals observed in each of three survey rounds, plus 308 women observed in the post workshop survey.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
154 in SfL, 155 in PD, 142 in the cash control group.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
UC Berkeley Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects
IRB Approval Date
2019-08-25
IRB Approval Number
2018-01-10656
Analysis Plan

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Post-Trial

Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Intervention

Is the intervention completed?
Yes
Intervention Completion Date
October 04, 2019, 12:00 +00:00
Data Collection Complete
Yes
Data Collection Completion Date
November 30, 2020, 12:00 +00:00
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
456 women
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
No
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
456 women
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
153 Storytelling for Leadership workshop, 148 Professional Development workshop, 155 cash control
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?
No

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Program Files

Program Files
No
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Abstract
Despite growing evidence on the determinants of psychosocial wellbeing, we know comparatively little about the impacts of different types of interventions on psychosocial versus economic outcomes. We conduct a randomized control trial in Rwanda that benchmarks two programs against an unconditional cash transfer, implemented in conjunction with existing anti-poverty interventions. The first is psychologically-targeted and focuses on promoting personal agency: self-confidence, sense of value, and social status. The second program targets specific skills: goal setting, public speaking, and networking. The psychologically-targeted intervention leads to significant improvements across a range of psychosocial outcomes, but no economic gains relative to the cash transfer. By contrast, the skills-based program improves economic outcomes but not psychosocial wellbeing. Our results suggest that well-designed, low-cost programs can outperform cost-equivalent cash transfers in terms of impacts on psychosocial and economic outcomes.
Citation
Megan Lang, Edward Soule, and Catherine Tinsley. "Psychology, Skills, or Cash?" 2021.

Reports & Other Materials