Improving Labor Market Outcomes for Refugees in Developing Countries: Evidence from Uganda

Last registered on January 05, 2022


Trial Information

General Information

Improving Labor Market Outcomes for Refugees in Developing Countries: Evidence from Uganda
Initial registration date
September 17, 2020

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
September 17, 2020, 8:05 AM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.

Last updated
January 05, 2022, 1:06 PM EST

Last updated is the most recent time when changes to the trial's registration were published.



Primary Investigator

Institute for International Economic Studies, Stockholm University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Maastricht University

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Refugees and asylum seekers often struggle to find jobs in their host countries, even when they have unrestricted right to work. This is especially true in low-income countries, home to the majority of the displaced populations in the world. Firms may be reluctant to hire a refugee due to several reasons. Firms may believe that a refugee has lower productivity or is more costly to screen compared to a local worker. Furthermore, language barriers and other information frictions may affect refugees’ job search behavior and the probability of matching. Does assisting firms in hiring ultimately help refugees workers integrating in the local labor markets? We study the effect of short-term internships and skills certifications on firms’ beliefs and willingness to hire refugee workers. We do so by running an experiment in urban Uganda, one of the largest refugee-host countries in the world and the largest in Africa. By organizing internships we will expose firms to working with a refugee for one week, giving them the chance to learn about the worker’s productivity over time. Moreover, we will test whether the effect of this internship differs depending on whether we inform firms that the candidate acquired a skills certificate from a well-known vocational education institute.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Loiacono, Francesco and Mariajose Silva Vargas. 2022. "Improving Labor Market Outcomes for Refugees in Developing Countries: Evidence from Uganda." AEA RCT Registry. January 05.
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Experimental Details


Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Firms' outcomes: willingness to pay for a refugee and a local worker; beliefs about refugees' productivity; employment of the refugee the firm has been introduced to; tasks assigned to worker during the internship and planned tasks prior to start the internship; manager's explicit bias. Refugees outcomes:earnings; employment; quality of jobs; job search behavior (number of application done; money spent in applying to jobs; distance of jobs applied to); social cohesion.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Firms' outcomes: revenues and profits; Co-workers' outcomes (beliefs about refugees' productivity).
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Firms will be randomly matched one-to-one with refugee job-seekers. The treatment status of each firm depends on the refugee they are matched to. Refugees are thus in a first step divided into two groups:

1) Certified: these refugees will be tested on practically acquired skills and will be provided with a complete certificate, officially recognized by the government of Uganda. The certificate will be shared after the internship they will do at the firm they got matched with.
2) Late-certified: these refugees will be tested on practically acquired skills, but will receive their certificate at the end of the experiment.

Firms will be then asked to provide their willingness-to-hire the refugee worker they have been shown to. Some firms will get to know that the worker has a certificate of skills, some will not. Conditional on their "WTP" they will be randomly provided with a short-term subsidy to hire the worker for one week. The subsidy will be paid to the workers directly, in form of a reimbursement of travel costs to the firm. A subset of these firms will not receive any subsidy and will not be able to hire the worker. We will then compare hiring decisions of firms receiving the subsidy versus the ones of firms not receiving the subsidy.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization done by a computer
Randomization Unit
Individual level
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
800 firms and 527 refugees
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Firms that are shown a certified worker with whom they complete a week of work: 200
Firms that complete one week of work with a refugee worker, without knowing about the certificate: 200
Firms that are not shown a certified worker and do not work with the refugee worker: 400

Refugees to receive a certificate early in the experiment, after finishing an internship with one firm: 200
Refugees to finish an internship with one firm, receiving a certificate at the end of the experiment: 200
Refugees in control (to receive the certificate at the end of the experiment): 127
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Mildmay Uganda REC
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

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Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Is the intervention completed?
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials