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Empowering Indonesian Migrant Workers to Access Quality Overseas Placement Services
Last registered on March 03, 2015

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Empowering Indonesian Migrant Workers to Access Quality Overseas Placement Services
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0000630
Initial registration date
March 03, 2015
Last updated
March 03, 2015 6:59 PM EST
Location(s)

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Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Monash University
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Boston University
PI Affiliation
University of Southern California
PI Affiliation
The Australian National University
Additional Trial Information
Status
On going
Start date
2015-04-01
End date
2019-12-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
Nearly 700,000 Indonesians migrate abroad for work each year. The vast majority do so through recruiters and placement agencies that facilitate temporary employment in countries across Asia and the Middle East. These agencies support migrants starting with pre-departure paperwork and training through repatriation, and are therefore a crucial determinant of a worker’s migration experience. Potential migrants ostensibly have a great deal of choice between agencies – there are over 1,000 formally registered firms in Indonesia – and in theory, competition between these firms should drive out poorly performing agencies. Yet anecdotal evidence suggests that agency quality is highly variable, and that many agencies engage in exploitative practices. This could be due to market power at the local level, or informational failures, both of which would hamper competitive pressures.
Our findings from preliminary research suggest that despite the fact that nearly three-quarters of female migrants believe that there is no relationship between the quality of the agencies and the experience with the employer; there is indeed a robust correlation between the two variables. However, migrants attribute the employer quality to "nasib", or fate.
In 2015, we ran information campaigns designed to transmit information on agency quality to potential migrants. Surveys will be conducted to evaluate the impact of the information campaigns on migrants’ outcomes.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Bazzi, Samuel et al. 2015. "Empowering Indonesian Migrant Workers to Access Quality Overseas Placement Services ." AEA RCT Registry. March 03. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.630-2.0.
Former Citation
Bazzi, Samuel et al. 2015. "Empowering Indonesian Migrant Workers to Access Quality Overseas Placement Services ." AEA RCT Registry. March 03. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/630/history/3714.
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
This project has three experimental arms, which feature different combinations of two information sharing products designed specifically for migrant workers.

The first product is a paper-based placement agency “report card”. The report card ranked the most-frequently used placement agencies in the area and included the name of the placement agency, the number of reviews from migrants, and an overall score, with an associated smiley face graphic to indicate overall quality. The report cards also included contact information for the placement agencies.

The second product took the form of a short comic book. The goal of the comic book is to help communicate in an accessible manner the fact that placement agency quality, and not just fate, matters in affecting migration outcomes. (Pilot research indicated that many migrants did not believe agency quality was important for their overall migration outcome. Thus, one reason migrants may not attend to available information about agency quality is that they do not think it is important). The comic explained why agency quality matters through the story of a fictional migrant worker – here, the emphasis is on relatable characters and simple, clear language.

Both of these products was disseminated to potential migrant workers through village-level discussion sessions.

The experimental arms include (a) report card only, (b) comic book only, (c) report card and comic book.
Intervention Start Date
2015-08-03
Intervention End Date
2015-10-31
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
The aim of this experiment is to measure how the information-sharing service impacts both the migration market and migrant welfare. In addition to understanding overall average impacts, it is also important to understand which migrants benefit the most: thus we will also explore the distributional impacts of the information-sharing intervention. Below we list the outcome variables and indices which we will consider by group. Outcomes marked by an asterisk (*) will be measured using administrative data from the Indonesian Migrant Placement and Protection Body (BNP2TKI).

1. Migration Market:
(a) migration rate*
(b) market share of placement agencies*
(d) use of middlemen
(e) costs paid by migrant workers to agencies and middlemen
(f) migrants beliefs about agency quality

2. Migrant Welfare:
(a) migrant compensation
(b) migrant satisfaction with experience abroad
(c) migrant experiences abroad (e.g. experience of abuse, long work hours etc.)

3. Dimensions of Heterogeneity:
(a) Cognitive ability
(b) Risk and time preferences
(c) Education
(d) Locus of control
(e) Wealth/economic status
(f) Beliefs about migation experiences (e.g. expected compensation, rates of problems)
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
This project has three experimental arms, which feature different combinations of two information sharing products designed specifically for migrant workers.

The first product is a paper-based placement agency “report card”. The report card ranked the most-frequently used placement agencies in the area and included the name of the placement agency, the number of reviews from migrants, and an overall score, with an associated smiley face graphic to indicate overall quality. The report cards also included contact information for the placement agencies.

The second product took the form of a short comic book. The goal of the comic book is to help communicate in an accessible manner the fact that placement agency quality, and not just fate, matters in affecting migration outcomes. (Pilot research indicated that many migrants did not believe agency quality was important for their overall migration outcome. Thus, one reason migrants may not attend to available information about agency quality is that they do not think it is important). The comic explained why agency quality matters through the story of a fictional migrant worker – here, the emphasis is on relatable characters and simple, clear language
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
The randomization was conducted using a computerized random number generator.
Randomization Unit
The unit of randomization is the village.
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
Total of 400 villages of 8 districts that sent the largest numbers of female migrant workers in Indonesia is enrolled in the research and randomly assigned to different treatments.
Sample size: planned number of observations
We interviewed 10,947 respondents in baseline survey. In the mid line 1, we interviewed 4,863 respondents while in mid line 2 we interviewed 4,794 respondents. We will interview approximately 8,000 former and potential migrants at end line.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
By treatment arms, 100 villages were assigned to report card treatment group, comic treatment group, report card + comic treatment group, and control group, respectively.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Assuming 80 percent power, 5 percent size, and an intra-village correlation in outcomes of 0.15 or less, our design permits a 0.2 or better minimum detectable effect size for outcomes measured at the individual level.
Supporting Documents and Materials

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IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Boston University Charles River Campus Institutional Review Board
IRB Approval Date
2018-10-10
IRB Approval Number
4990E