The Syrian Refugee Life Study

Last registered on August 17, 2020


Trial Information

General Information

The Syrian Refugee Life Study
Initial registration date
July 13, 2020
Last updated
August 17, 2020, 4:01 PM EDT



Primary Investigator

UC Berkeley

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
University of Southern California
PI Affiliation
Harvard University
PI Affiliation
UC Berkeley

Additional Trial Information

On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Since the Syrian civil war broke out in 2011, the international community has struggled to respond to the resulting refugee crisis in a way that provides for refugees’ and host communities’ long-term needs. As a result, many non-profits and intergovernmental organizations have begun implementing programs that support both the refugees and host communities. As part of a larger study on Syrian refugee livelihoods in Jordan, our team is conducting a randomized control trial (RCT) that evaluates the effectiveness of one such program.

The Norwegian Refugee Council’s Urban Shelter Program subsidizes housing for Syrian refugees through the renovation of Jordanian-owned properties in exchange for lower rents for refugees. Our study will use a broad range of outcomes to discern the mechanisms by which providing stable shelter access may improve recipients’ economic welfare, as well as their physical and mental health. These findings could have major implications for the design of similar programs, and of public policies that foster refugee integration and reduce persistent socio-economic and health inequalities.

This RCT will also be paired with a panel dataset, which will be among the first systematic efforts to survey a large, representative sample of refugees and follow that sample over time. This comprehensive and representative data will provide policymakers with important insights into the long-run effects of various responses to the refugee crisis, and offer credible insight to guide future policymaking.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Leone, Samuel et al. 2020. "The Syrian Refugee Life Study." AEA RCT Registry. August 17.
Experimental Details


Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
We will consider a wide range of outcomes, including labor market earnings, hours worked, sector of employment, self-reported health status, consumption, migration, fertility, marriage, and respondents’ children’s health and education.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
The Syrian Refugee Life Study (S-RLS) will evaluate the effectiveness of NRC-Jordan’s Urban Shelter

Flexible Shelter Support Program: Refugee households selected into the program receive approximately
2,200 Jordanian dinars, which cover the refugee household’s rent, usually for approximately 12 months. A
refugee household is responsible for finding its own apartment, negotiating a two-year contract with the
landlords, and deciding how to split the 2,200 dinars among renovation and rent-reduction.

There will be ~ 2,500 households who participate in the experiment. Of those, ~1,250 (50%) of the households were randomly assigned to one of the treatments and ~1,250 (50%) of the households to control. We also use a saturation design whereby households in certain randomly selected localities (neighborhoods) will have a higher probability of treatment assignment.

NRC will then implement the intervention according to the randomization assignment. The intervention lasts between 6-12 months, depending on modality and amount of assistance determined by NRC. Once randomization is complete and the intervention is being implemented, NRC will share the contact details of the selected program applicants with the survey firm. The firm will administer the survey after the intervention’s conclusion to consenting participants. Proceeding the RCT endline, which will act as the initial panel survey, a follow up survey will be conducted within two years.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
List randomization
Randomization Unit
household and locality
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
334 localities
Sample size: planned number of observations
2,500 households
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
1,250 households treatment, 1,2500 control
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Harvard University
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
IRB Name
King Hussein Cancer Center
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
IRB Name
University of California, Berkeley
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

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