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Evaluating the Effectiveness of Emergency Financial Assistance Delivery in Texas
Last registered on September 24, 2020


Trial Information
General Information
Evaluating the Effectiveness of Emergency Financial Assistance Delivery in Texas
Initial registration date
September 07, 2020
Last updated
September 24, 2020 1:10 PM EDT

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Primary Investigator
University of Notre Dame
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
University of Notre Dame, Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities
PI Affiliation
University of Notre Dame, Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities
PI Affiliation
University of Maryland College Park
Additional Trial Information
In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Emergency financial assistance (EFA) provides funds to individuals who need it to stay afloat with expenses like rent or utility bills. In many cases, these funds are distributed on behalf of individuals to an appropriate third party (e.g., in the case of a rent payment, EFA would be transferred directly to a client’s landlord). What is the impact of changing this method of delivery and instead providing EFA payments directly to clients? Through a partnership with Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston Houston (CCGH), this study evaluates how payment delivery could affect outcomes like those related to housing, health, crime, and financial security.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Collinson, Robert et al. 2020. "Evaluating the Effectiveness of Emergency Financial Assistance Delivery in Texas." AEA RCT Registry. September 24. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.6382-2.0.
Experimental Details
Upon meeting the eligibility criteria set by CCGH, applicants have the chance to receive funds of up to $1200. If selected to receive assistance, these funds could either be delivered directly to the client in a check, or indirectly to a qualified party (e.g., a verified landlord or utility provider). Whether a client receives assistance, and the mode of delivery (either direct or indirect) is determined by random assignment.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Housing, health, crime, spending patterns, and financial security
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Subgroup analysis conducted by groups based on variables including gender, household size, household income, race/ethnicity, manner impacted by COVID-19, age, foreign-born status, veteran status, disability status, medical needs status, and type of financial assistance requested.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
Study participants will be entered into a random lottery to be selected to either (1) have their assistance payments coordinated through a third party (“Treatment Arm 1”), (2) receive assistance payments directly (“Treatment Arm 2”), or (3) not receive EFA payments. The target sample group is individuals applying for EFA at CCGH. The target sample size is approximately 1000 total across the three randomly assigned groups. After completing the informed consent process through CCGH’s existing online portal for EFA, applicants will be entered into the random lottery. After learning the results of the lottery CCGH staff will communicate with clients about their next steps. Estimated differences in outcomes will be assessed using a standard intent-to-treat (ITT) model.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer from a list of assistance applicants that are eligible for the study and have agreed to research.
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
Not applicable
Sample size: planned number of observations
1000 individuals
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
The trial includes roughly one third of participants (approximately 333 individuals) in the control group, and one third in each of the two treatment arms (direct or indirect payment of assistance).
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB Name
University of Notre Dame
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number