Child Marriage and Police Enforcement: A Field Experiment in Rural India
Last registered on January 21, 2020

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Child Marriage and Police Enforcement: A Field Experiment in Rural India
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0005315
Initial registration date
January 18, 2020
Last updated
January 21, 2020 2:05 PM EST
Location(s)

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Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Additional Trial Information
Status
In development
Start date
2020-03-01
End date
2021-03-01
Secondary IDs
IGC project code: 18019
Abstract
Child marriage severely affects female well-being across the developing world, yet its causes remain poorly understood. Research that does examine the causes of child marriage tends to focus on the role of culture, which is difficult, if not impossible, to directly affect with public policy. Inspired by interviews with local NGO workers specialized in the prevention of child marriage we examine whether increasing information about police enforcement of child marriage laws can reduce child marriage in the Indian state of Bihar. To do so we will implement two randomized controlled trials. In the first experiment we randomly send messages about the fact that child marriage is illegal and subject to police enforcement and legal punishment to village leaders and development officials across the entire state of Bihar. In the second experiment we complement these phone messages by selecting a smaller subset of villages and randomly assigning village leaders and development official to a training about the police enforcement aspects of child marriage. In both cases the control group receives no messages and no trainings. In both experiments we have a control group that received no treatment, and a second treatment arm that receives information/training about the negative effects of child marriage for girls, but no information about police enforcement. This latter treatment arm will allow us to separate the effect of police enforcement information from a general increase in the latency of the issue of child marriage. To measure child marriage we implement a household survey (for the second experiment), and use data from the Indian Census and the Indian National Family Health Survey.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
goyal, tanushree and Sam Van Noort. 2020. "Child Marriage and Police Enforcement: A Field Experiment in Rural India." AEA RCT Registry. January 21. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.5315-1.0.
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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
In the first experiment we randomly assign villages to: (1) control: no treatment; (2) information treatment: monthly phone messages to village leaders and development officials highlighting the negative effects of child marriage for girls, with the request to inform the village inhabitants; and (3) information + enforcement treatment: monthly phone messages to village leaders and development officials highlighting the negative effects of child marriage for girls + highlighting that child marriage is illegal and that the Indian police intends to invest more in the enforcement of the child marriage law, with the request to inform the village inhabitants. Given the low-cost of the treatment we intend to implement our experiment in the whole of Bihar, India (the phone numbers of all village leaders and development officials is available on the internet). We will measure child marriage with data from the Indian Census and the Indian National Family Health Survey.

In the second experiment we will select a subset of villages, and assign villages to: (1) control: no treatment; (2) information treatment: phone messages about negative effects + a training of village leaders and development officials about the negative effects of child marriage; and (3) enforcement treatment: phone messages about negative effects + phone messages about enforcement + a training of village leaders and development officials about the negative effects of child marriage + a training of village leaders and development officials about police enforcement. In this smaller subset of countries we will implement a detailed household survey to measure child marriage. We will also use this household survey to collect data on the within household decision-making process that underlies marriage decisions.
Intervention Start Date
2020-03-01
Intervention End Date
2021-03-01
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Whether a girl has been married before the age of 18, or not.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
The age of all nuclear family members will be asked in the beginning of a survey. Later in the survey data on the marriage dates of all nuclear family members will be collected. Child marriage rates for girl children will be constructed by deriving from these two separately collected variables whether a girl has been married before 18 or not.
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Sex-ratio
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
The experiment will be double-blind in the sense that both respondents and surveyors do not know whether a village is treated or not at the time of data collection.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer.
Randomization Unit
Village
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
150 villages
Sample size: planned number of observations
1,500
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
50 control, 50 information, 50 enforcement
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number