The Effect of Citizenship on Financial Outcomes

Last registered on February 09, 2021


Trial Information

General Information

The Effect of Citizenship on Financial Outcomes
Initial registration date
November 19, 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 20, 2020, 12:37 PM EST

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

Last updated
February 09, 2021, 11:55 AM EST

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


Primary Investigator

Stanford University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Stanford University
PI Affiliation
Stanford University
PI Affiliation
Stanford University
PI Affiliation
Stanford University

Additional Trial Information

On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
It is often assumed that naturalization has positive impacts for immigrants, but this has been difficult to test given the self-selection into naturalization. We will examine the effects of naturalization through an experimental study which randomly offered vouchers to low-income immigrants in New York that would pay their naturalization fee. We will use follow-up surveys and administrative data linkages to measure the effect that American citizenship has had on their financial outcomes.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Duncan, Lawrence et al. 2021. "The Effect of Citizenship on Financial Outcomes." AEA RCT Registry. February 09.
Experimental Details


voucher to pay for naturalization fee
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
credit score, income, access to credit, financial distress
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
NaturalizeNY was a public-private program operating in New York State that promoted naturalization among low-income legal permanent residents who are eligible to naturalize, but may face financial barriers preventing them from doing so. The NaturalizeNY lottery was run in 2016, 2017, and 2018. In each year, immigrants registered for the program and during the registration process their eligibility for the voucher lottery was determined. Registrants who met the program requirements were deemed eligible for the voucher lottery. After the registration period closed, these registrants were randomly assigned to one of two groups. If a participant was assigned to the treatment group, he or she received a voucher that paid the full cost of applying for citizenship ($680 in 2016, $405 or $725 in 2017 and 2018 depending on the immigrant's household (HH) income). The voucher was processed by a specific Office for New Americans Opportunity Centers (OC) in New York. The fee voucher was directly paid to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) by the OC and could not be used for any other purpose than to pay for the naturalization application. Participants assigned to the control group did not receive a fee voucher.

Each year, the voucher randomization was conducted within blocks. In particular, eligible registrants were assigned to one randomization block based on their geocoded street address provided during the registration and the type of voucher that was needed (whether a person would likely need a full or partial voucher). The geographic blocking was conducted to minimize the distance that lottery winners would have to travel to get their vouchers processed at an OC. A lottery was conducted in all blocks where the demand for the vouchers exceeded the number of available vouchers. The blocks that met this criterion were New York City and Long Island. Only registrants from these blocks are included in the experiment.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
2400 individuals
Sample size: planned number of observations
7200 individual-years
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
1200 individuals treatment, 1200 individuals control
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Stanford University Institutional Review Board
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

Analysis Plan Documents

The Effect of Citizenship on Financial Outcomes - Pre-Analysis Plan Addendum (Feb 2021)

MD5: 2e196b902f226e17eb2653c81a1c1a61

SHA1: 515fe91e66ea48a467b737edf1abbb6fc9692850

Uploaded At: February 09, 2021

The Effect of Citizenship on Financial Outcomes - Pre-Analysis Plan

MD5: f903fc3ad6e7dc937eb58808be3860ec

SHA1: 003b654d79e54a681eb622a44b1cf0daa4e43e74

Uploaded At: November 19, 2020


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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