Anticipatory cash transfers in climate disaster response

Last registered on December 19, 2022


Trial Information

General Information

Anticipatory cash transfers in climate disaster response
Initial registration date
November 29, 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
November 30, 2020, 11:32 AM EST

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

Last updated
December 19, 2022, 11:08 AM EST

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



Primary Investigator

University of Oxford

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
University of Oxford
PI Affiliation
Centre for Disaster Protection

Additional Trial Information

On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Monsoon flooding has become more intense in recent years due to climate change and surpasses the ability of communities to cope, leading to the loss of livelihoods, assets and lives. It is often possible to predict severe monsoon flooding events. A targeted anticipatory approach has the promise to offer a more timely and effective solution that reduces the effects of the shock on household economic outcomes and welfare. In July 2020, the United Nations piloted a novel approach to humanitarian financing by employing a data-driven forecast to predict excess flooding along the Jamuna River in Bangladesh. This forecast was used to trigger the release of cash transfers worth $53 to 22,434 affected households a few days prior to the flooding shock. We evaluate the effect of an anticipatory cash transfer on household behaviour and outcomes during one of the most severe and protracted flooding events in decades.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Dercon, Stefan, Ruth Hill and Ashley Pople. 2022. "Anticipatory cash transfers in climate disaster response." AEA RCT Registry. December 19.
Experimental Details


In the traditional policy model, a negative shock first occurs, which triggers a policy response to address the materialised need. In contrast, an anticipatory action approach provides a policy response to a risk in anticipation of a future need and enables households to cope with the shock on their own terms. This approach combines a robust forecasting and decision-making framework with established implementation plans and pre-arranged cash transfers. We expect an anticipatory action approach to reduce the effects of a shock on household economic outcomes and welfare.

The World Food Programme (WFP) at the United Nations piloted an anticipatory cash transfer in response to climate disasters in June to July 2020, drawing on $2.8 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF). A forecast triggered the release of unconditional cash transfers of 4,500 taka (ca. $53) by WFP to 22,434 vulnerable households in five districts along the Jamuna River in Bangladesh. Households received anticipatory cash transfers on 14, 15, 16, 18 and 30 July.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
We are interested in four primary outcomes: (1) pre-emptive actions taken to reduce the impact of flooding, (2) child food consumption, (3) adult food consumption; and (4) wellbeing. Our pre-analysis plan provides more detail on the construction of these primary outcome variables.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
We exploit a natural experiment to explore whether anticipatory cash transfers mitigate the effects of a flooding shock on household economic outcomes and welfare. Our treatment group received the anticipatory cash transfer via their mobile money account just prior to and after the forecasted flood peak, i.e., on 14, 15, 16 and 30 July 2020. The control group of households received no cash transfer and were excluded from the intervention owing to having an incorrect mobile wallet account or frozen bKash wallet.

We sample households in over 100 unions across four districts along the Jamuna River. We conducted phone surveys with 8,488 households ten to twelve weeks after the intervention between 21 September and 8 October 2020.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
WFP selected beneficiaries using eligibility criteria. We exploit the
exogenous variation induced by administrative hurdles encountered by our implementation partner that prevented similar households from receiving the intervention.
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Study not clustered
Sample size: planned number of observations
8,488 households
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Cash treatment (14 July): 3,543
Cash treatment (15 July): 1,259
Cash treatment (16 July): 1,108
Cash treatment (30 July): 760
Control group: 1,818
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Central University Research Ethics Committee (CUREC)
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

Analysis Plan Documents

Pre-analysis plan for "Anticipatory cash transfers in climate disaster response"

MD5: 26876cb331251fb72026422b3875f207

SHA1: d63b80f980a477d7dc1c8960b1ec369b65555b45

Uploaded At: November 29, 2020

Amendment to pre-analysis plan

MD5: 7e1bc6a6e487da9f621aa99053319f6b

SHA1: ca077089a175e15fbb599a28a7bc36afe3fa0eca

Uploaded At: December 14, 2020


Post Trial Information

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Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

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Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials