Cash Transfers and Parent-Child Interaction

Last registered on April 21, 2022


Trial Information

General Information

Cash Transfers and Parent-Child Interaction
Initial registration date
March 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
March 16, 2021, 6:37 AM EDT

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

Last updated
April 21, 2022, 5:33 PM EDT

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


Primary Investigator


Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
University of California, Berkeley
PI Affiliation
University of California, Berkeley
PI Affiliation
University of California, Berkeley

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Differences in academic achievement between high and low socioeconomic status (SES) children arise at a very early age. Examining the factors that give rise to these differences is essential for understanding the intergenerational transmission of poverty. This project tests the idea that the psychological experience of poverty leads parents to engage less with their young children, hampering early child development. We focus on parents’ verbal interactions with children, which differ markedly by SES in observational data, and are the most prominent proxy for parental engagement in developmental psychology. We leverage a cash transfer intervention among households California to examine how alleviating financial constraints impacts verbal interactions within the household.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Hallez, Kristina et al. 2022. "Cash Transfers and Parent-Child Interaction." AEA RCT Registry. April 21.
Experimental Details


We leverage a cash transfer intervention among households in Northern California to examine impacts on verbal interactions within the household. The pilot will be comprised of up to 100 low-income families.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Parent-child speech interactions, as measured by child word/vocalizations, adult word count, and conversational turns (vocalizations that alternate between a child and adult speaking to each other)
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Financial rumination, positive and negative affect, couple relationship, agency, competent and negative parenting, and time spent with children will be measured through surveys.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Participants will be randomly assigned to a treatment condition or a control condition. Treated participants will receive a $400 unconditional cash transfer via a prepaid non-reloadable electronic Visa debit card sent to their email address or mobile phone number, which will arrive on Day 15 or 16 of the month. We will use audio data to assess parents’ speech to children, children’s own speech, and family relationship dynamics. In addition, we will use supplementary surveys to collect data on outcomes such as affect, financial rumination, harmony between adult partners, and parents’ activities with their child.
Experimental Design Details
On Day 10 of the month, before they are informed of their treatment status, subjects will be asked to place a small audio recording device in their kitchen or common area. Although parents tend to forget about the presence of such recorders over time, to minimize any observer effects, recorders will be placed on a wall out of prominent sight. These devices will record audio from Day 10 to Day 30, providing data we will use to assess parents’ speech to children, children’s own speech, and family relationship dynamics. We will apply open source software to these audio recordings to construct basic speech outcomes for children and adults (Räsänen et al., 2020). In addition, a subset of households will also be provided with LENA recorders for 3 days. We will use the LENA data to help train and validate the algorithms used for the general recording devices. Note that both LENA and the open source software are able to distinguish between child and adult speech, enabling us to construct valid outcomes. Before parents are informed of their treatment status, they will complete baseline questionnaires on demographics, finances, and mental health measures. During the period from Days 11 to 30, parents will also complete short (1-5 minute) daily surveys on their mobile phone, rotating across outcomes on their psychological states and family relationships.
Randomization Method
We will randomize by computer.
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
100 families
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
50 families control, 50 families treatment
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Our primary outcome of interest is the number of conversational turns between parents and children. Based on the baseline distribution of conversational turns in Ellwood-Lowe et al. (2020), with our expected sample size of 100 households, this corresponds to an MDE of 6.79 conversational turns off a mean of 28.19 using just three days of recording data. Our study will have 20 days of recording data from general audio recorders, plus the three days of data using the specialized LENA recorders used in this previous work. Consequently, we expect our statistical power to be substantially higher than previous work. However, this is only preliminary, and we will update these power calculations before launching the full study.

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
University of California-Berkeley
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number


Post Trial Information

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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