Evaluating Alternative Cash Transfer Designs in Kenya Using Behavioral Economics
Last registered on September 12, 2017

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Evaluating Alternative Cash Transfer Designs in Kenya Using Behavioral Economics
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0000541
Initial registration date
November 05, 2014
Last updated
September 12, 2017 8:35 PM EDT
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
UC San Diego
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
University of Chicago
PI Affiliation
University of Warwick
PI Affiliation
Harvard University
Additional Trial Information
Status
Completed
Start date
2014-11-10
End date
2016-04-30
Secondary IDs
Abstract
This study aims to draw on insights from behavioral economics to conduct a rigorous impact evaluation of alternative unconditional cash transfer designs in Kenya. The study's implementing partner, GiveDirectly, which provides unconditional cash transfers to poor households in rural Kenya, will be experimentally varying several features of these transfers. One area of focus will be the timing of transfers, where GiveDirectly will vary the structure and schedule of transfer payments, as well as recipients' control over these timing aspects. A second area of focus will be the role of social information and norms, varying the amount and kind of information recipients receive about assets purchased by their peers. This study will exploit the variation across these different designs to quantify impacts on 1) household-level socio-economic outcomes (income, assets, etc.), 2) measures of well-being (food security, intra-household discord/conflict, various psychosocial scales), and 3) recipients' decision-making process and cognitive ability.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Mani, Anandi et al. 2017. "Evaluating Alternative Cash Transfer Designs in Kenya Using Behavioral Economics." AEA RCT Registry. September 12. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/541/history/21368
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
All households in this study will receive an unconditional cash transfer totaling around $1000 USD from GiveDirectly. The structure and timing of these transfers, as well as the information provided to recipients, will be randomized at the household level.
Intervention Start Date
2014-11-10
Intervention End Date
2016-03-15
Outcomes
Outcomes (end points)
Key outcome variables include 1) household-level socio-economic outcomes (income, assets, etc.), 2) measures of overall well-being (food security, intra-household discord/conflict, various psychosocial scales), and 3) recipients' decision-making process and cognitive ability.
Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
The experimental design comprises two arms looking at 1) transfer structure and 2) information sharing.

On transfer structure, cash transfer recipients will be asked to choose the timing and tranching of payments that they would most prefer to receive their transfer. One randomly selected group of recipients will receive the transfer according to their preferred payment structure and schedule, while the other group will be assigned a random payment structure and schedule.

On information sharing, the study will take a list of uncommon investments made by past recipients and randomly vary, at the recipient-investment level, (a) whether the recipient is told about this investment, and (b) if so, the type of information each recipient receives.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization done in an office by a computer
Randomization Unit
Randomization will occur at the household level (since transfers are distributed at the household level).
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
510 households
Sample size: planned number of observations
510 households
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Information treatment
255 households get popularity information on 2-3 randomly selected investments (out of 5)
255 households get cost-benefit information on 2-3 randomly selected investments (out of 5)

Tranching treatment
240 households received one tranche
258 households received two tranches

Timing treatment
Among households that received 1 tranche, 18:32:23:23:18:18:18:18:18:18:18:18 were assigned to receive this in months 1-12, respectively
Among households that received 2 tranches, 38:61:42:39:39:39 were assigned to receive their first tranche in months 1-6, respectively, with the second tranche to come 6 months after the first
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Maseno University Ethics Review Board
IRB Approval Date
2014-10-15
IRB Approval Number
MSU/DRPC/MUERC/00105/14
IRB Name
Social and Behavioral Sciences Institutional Review Board at the University of Chicago
IRB Approval Date
2014-10-28
IRB Approval Number
IRB14-1019-AM001
Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
No
Is data collection complete?
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
No
Program Files
Program Files
Reports and Papers
Preliminary Reports
Relevant Papers