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Enhancing Female Entrepreneurship through Cash Grants: Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial in Tunisia

Last registered on January 06, 2022


Trial Information

General Information

Enhancing Female Entrepreneurship through Cash Grants: Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial in Tunisia
Initial registration date
February 15, 2021

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
February 17, 2021, 10:34 AM EST

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

Last updated
January 06, 2022, 9:41 AM EST

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



Primary Investigator

Duke University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
PI Affiliation
University of Oxford

Additional Trial Information

Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
We use a randomized controlled trial to study the effects of cash grants to vulnerable and poor women in rural Tunisia. The objective is to study whether cash grants can alleviate capital constraints and thereby favor both female entrepreneurship and female empowerment. Beneficiary women were offered an unconditional cash grant of USD 551 (in PPP terms) and a financial training. In addition, a subset of beneficiaries were randomized into a gender dialogue component whereby they could invite their male partner to the training. The objective is to study whether this component can mitigate any negative perceptions or resentments that male partners may have as a result of female economic independence through the grant.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Gazeaud, Jules, Eric Mvukiyehe and Olivier Sterck. 2022. "Enhancing Female Entrepreneurship through Cash Grants: Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial in Tunisia." AEA RCT Registry. January 06.
Experimental Details


The experiment is composed of two interventions:
1. Unconditional cash grant. Beneficiary women were offered cash grants of TND 634 (USD 551 in PPP terms, USD 227 in nominal terms) and a financial training. Prior to this experiment, these women participated in the randomized evaluation of a labor-intensive public works program.
2. Gender dialogue component. A subset of cash grant recipients were randomized into a gender dialogue treatment whereby they could invite their male partner (i.e. their spouse or a sibling) to the training.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
1. Female businesses and income generating activities:
a. Runs a business.
b. Business profit.
c. Number of employees.
d. Financial access.
e. Total employment.
f. Total income from employment.

2. Female empowerment:
a. Women’s agency (index constructed using woman role in the decisionmaking of 16 activities).
b. Perspectives on gender role (index constructed using views on 28 statements).
c. Perspectives on women abilities for economic activities (index constructed using views on 10 activities).
d. Perception of gender-based violence (index constructed using views on 11 statements).
e. Perspectives on reproductive health (index constructed using views on 9 statements).
f. Quality of communication between spouses (index constructed using questions on the frequency of communication in 9 areas).
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
1. Household income generating activities:
a. Household head has an income generating activity.
b. Income of household head.
c. Other household members have an income generating activity.
d. Income of other household members.

2. Household material well-being:
a. Food expenditures.
b. Non-food expenditures.
c. Economic difficulties and coping mechanisms.
d. Assets.

3. Migration.

4. Non-material well-being:
a. Cantrill’s lader.
b. Psychological well-being.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
We use an individual randomized controlled trial
Experimental Design Details
Women are randomly split into three experimental groups:
1. Control group
2. Unconditional cash grants
3. Unconditional cash grants + gender dialogue
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
80 imadas (communities)
Sample size: planned number of observations
2,000 women
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
1. Control group: 1,000 women
2. Unconditional cash grants: 500 women
3. Unconditional cash grants + gender dialogue sessions: 500 women
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Solutions IRB
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

Analysis Plan Documents

Pre-analysis plan

MD5: 2f534ff45a5af19b2e4068a72c961dd8

SHA1: 6973edae14aaba65b4957863409cdd494c41cf71

Uploaded At: February 15, 2021


Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Is the intervention completed?
Intervention Completion Date
January 31, 2019, 12:00 +00:00
Data Collection Complete
Data Collection Completion Date
April 30, 2021, 12:00 +00:00
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
888 control, 468 T1, 468 T2
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Is it possible to stimulate women’s income-generating activities by relaxing their financial and human capital constraints? Does involving husbands help or hinder the effort? We examine these questions using a three-arm randomized-controlled trial with 2000 women in Tunisia. Women in the two treatment arms were offered a large cash grant (worth USD768 in PPP terms) and a gender-sensitive financial training. In one of the treatment arms, women were additionally encouraged to bring their male partner to the training. Two years after the program, we show that the treatments stimulated women’s income-generating activities, but only when partners were not involved, and with no downstream effects on women’s agency. Independently of partners’ participation, impacts on household living standards were overwhelmingly positive, suggesting that the program was highly cost-effective. Overall, our results highlight the difficulty of stimulating women’s agency in traditional societies, and suggest that involving men in women’s empowerment programs can backfire.
Gazeaud, J., Khan, N., Mvukiyehe, E., & Sterck, O. (2023). With or without him? Experimental evidence on cash grants and gender-sensitive trainings in Tunisia. Journal of Development Economics, 165, 103169.

Reports & Other Materials