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Living Conditions, Reference Dependence, and the Well-being of Migrant Workers
Last registered on April 17, 2020

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Living Conditions, Reference Dependence, and the Well-being of Migrant Workers
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0005713
Initial registration date
April 14, 2020
Last updated
April 17, 2020 1:04 PM EDT
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
University of Michigan
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
University of Michigan
PI Affiliation
University of Michigan
Additional Trial Information
Status
Completed
Start date
2016-08-15
End date
2016-12-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
We report the impacts of a randomized housing quality improvement intervention among Indian migrant workers. Despite modest improvements in conditions, respondents experienced a decline in satisfaction and a large increase in psychological distress as a result of treatment. In contrast, residents who faced the same treatment-induced variation in living conditions as the original sample, but who arrived after treatment had already been initiated, had increased satisfaction. Impacts on turnover echo these patterns. We interpret this as evidence of reference dependence: residents who were primed to expect larger-than-realized improvements in living conditions suffered utility losses, while exposed but unprimed residents experienced gains.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Adhvaryu, Achyuta, Anant Nyshadham and Huayu Xu. 2020. "Living Conditions, Reference Dependence, and the Well-being of Migrant Workers." AEA RCT Registry. April 17. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.5713-1.0.
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
Our intervention is a change in the management of hostels for migrant garment workers in Bengaluru, India. At baseline, the hostels we study were employer-managed, and living conditions in these hostels were characterized negatively. In two phases, hostel management was transferred to a local NGO specializing in women’s empowerment with specific experience managing migrant worker hostels. The NGO then took a series of measures to improve sanitation, security, and access to utilities in these hostels.
Intervention Start Date
2016-09-01
Intervention End Date
2016-12-31
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
worker satisfaction, psychological well-being, and turnover
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
We investigate whether the changeover in management has improved hostel conditions and, if so, how improved living conditions in hostels affect migrant workers’ satisfaction and turnover. In order to estimate causal treatment effects, the partner firm rolled out the management changeover across factories in two phases, with factories (and their corresponding hostels) assigned randomly to either the first or the second phase of the changeover. Our research design takes advantage of the gap between phases I and II, during which treatment hostels were under the new (NGO) management while control hostels were still managed by the employer. Near the end of this gap, we conducted a survey among a random sample of workers from all hostels to study differences in satisfaction and subjective well-being. At the same time, we administered a blinded enumerator evaluation survey for all 80 hostels in order to form "objective" measures of changes in housing quality.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
The randomization was conducted by the firm using a random number generator.
Randomization Unit
factory
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
19 factories
Sample size: planned number of observations
2,259 workers
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
985 workers control, 1,274 workers treatment
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
The Univeristy of Michigan Institutional Review Boards
IRB Approval Date
2016-08-01
IRB Approval Number
IRB00000246
Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
Yes
Intervention Completion Date
December 31, 2016, 12:00 AM +00:00
Is data collection complete?
Yes
Data Collection Completion Date
December 31, 2016, 12:00 AM +00:00
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
19 factories
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
No
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
1,080 workers who joined before the invention started (original sample);
2,29 workers who joined afterward ("joiners")
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
Original sample: 482 workers control, 598 workers treatment Joiners: 112 workers control, 117 workers treatment
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
No
Program Files
Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials
Relevant Paper(s)
REPORTS & OTHER MATERIALS