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Stigma and program take-up. Evidence from a Large-Scale Experiment using SMS
Last registered on October 28, 2020

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Stigma and program take-up. Evidence from a Large-Scale Experiment using SMS
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0006549
Initial registration date
October 27, 2020
Last updated
October 28, 2020 9:12 AM EDT
Location(s)

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Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Sao Paulo School of Economics - FGV
Other Primary Investigator(s)
Additional Trial Information
Status
In development
Start date
2020-10-15
End date
2020-12-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
Social programs, such as affirmative action policies have been proved to be effective in many context to reduce gaps ratial or gender gaps in a variety of dimensions. However, the effectiveness of these types of interventions could be jeopardized by factors that reduce take-up, such as stigma. In this paper we test a low-cost nation-wide behavioral intervention, delivered through WhatsApp/SMS, to reduce stigma and improve the take-up of a free vocational training program, by afro-descendant individuals in Uruguay. The intervention consisted in sending six messages during three weeks. The content of the messages was designed to reduce the individual and social stigma that is potentially related to attending the program. A placebo group received the same number of messages but with neutral information about the program. We measure the impact of our intervention using outcomes related to expression of interest (e.g., actively seeking information about the program), stigma-related beliefs from and end-up survey and program enrollment.

External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Ajzenman, Nicolas. 2020. "Stigma and program take-up. Evidence from a Large-Scale Experiment using SMS." AEA RCT Registry. October 28. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.6549-1.0.
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
There are two arms (control and treatment). Both arms will receive six SMS messages for six weeks (two per week). What varies is the content of the messages. The intervention's goal is to induce individuals to apply to a vocational training program that is provided for free by the government. The program has a quota of 8% reserved for afro-descendants, which is typically not reached. The intervention is targeted at afro-descendants. The hypothesis, based on previous analysis conducted by the government, is that an essential part of the problem is related to stigma: they do not think the programs "are for them" (e.g., people "like them" do not take it). Moreover, as any social program, their problems are related to individual stigma: it is designed to help those supposedly in need and, thus, it may carry a negative connotation.
Intervention Start Date
2020-10-15
Intervention End Date
2020-12-31
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
1) Interest/intention: number of contact/information requests through a platform (the link to the platform is provided in the control and treatment groups).

2) Enrollment in the workshops

2) Application: application (binary) to the vocational training program.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
There are two arms. Both arms will receive six SMS/WhatsApp messages for six weeks (two per week). What varies is the content of the messages. The intervention's goal is to induce individuals to apply to a vocational training program that is provided for free by the government. The program has a quota of 8% reserved for afro-descendants, which is typically not reached. The intervention is targeted at afro-descendants. The hypothesis, based on previous analysis conducted by the government, is that an essential part of the problem is related to stigma: they do not think the programs "are for them" (e.g., people "like them" do not take it). Moreover, as any social program, their problems are related to individual stigma: it is designed to help those supposedly in need and, thus, it may carry a negative connotation.

Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization at the individual level done in office by a computer.
Randomization Unit
Individuals
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
No clustering
Sample size: planned number of observations
5,000 individuals in total approximately (some numbers could be wrong)
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
5,000 individuals in total approximately (some numbers could be wrong)
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Considering a power of 80% and a confidence level (two-sided) of 95%: Main outcomes: 1) Number of emails received. Considering a baseline of 10%, we would be able to detect an effect of 2.4% 2) Application to the program. Considering a baseline of 5%, we would be able to detect an effect of 1.8%
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number