Negotiating a Better Future: How Interpersonal Skills Facilitate Inter-Generational Investment
Last registered on May 25, 2017

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Negotiating a Better Future: How Interpersonal Skills Facilitate Inter-Generational Investment
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0000074
Initial registration date
May 24, 2017
Last updated
May 25, 2017 5:42 PM EDT
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
University of Toronto
PI Affiliation
The Wharton School, The University of Pennsylvania
PI Affiliation
Harvard Business School
Additional Trial Information
Status
Completed
Start date
2011-07-01
End date
2016-12-01
Secondary IDs
Abstract
Throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, secondary school completion is low, and female educational attainment lags male educational attainment. Many governments and NGOs try to address this issue by providing material support such as free uniforms and scholarships. We explore a potential alternative tool for increasing female human capital investment. A recent branch of economics, pioneered by James Heckman, has posited that differences in long-term outcomes (including wages and educational attainment) are in part driven by differences in non-cognitive skills (Heckman and Rubinstein, 2001). Non-cognitive skills are typically both difficult to measure and change, particularly among older children, but neuroscience research in recent years has shown that interpersonal skills may be best learned by early adolescents (Choudhury et al., 2006). If this is the case, programs that affect interpersonal skills may offer policymakers an unusual opportunity to improve non-cognitive skills within the school system. Motivated by this literature, we test whether improving interpersonal skills can play a role in increasing female education. We conducted an experiment in which we randomly provided eighth grade girls in Zambia with a two-week, after-school negotiation skills training. To disentangle the effects of the negotiation skills from the effects of participating in an all-girls training with a female, Zambian role model, we further randomized some girls to receive a placebo training (called “safe space”) where girls met to play games under the supervision of the mentor but did not receive negotiation skills training. We then collected data on the effect of negotiation in two ways. First, we conducted a lab-in-the-field investment game to better understand how negotiation affected parents’ investment decisions. Second, we collected administrative data on girls’ educational and life outcomes such as school fee payment, attendance, grades, and pregnancy status up to when the girls would be enrolled in tenth grade.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Ashraf, Nava et al. 2017. "Negotiating a Better Future: How Interpersonal Skills Facilitate Inter-Generational Investment." AEA RCT Registry. May 25. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/74/history/18014
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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
About 2400 eighth grade girls from across 41 schools in Lusaka were recruited. Girls in 29 schools were randomly assigned to one of three treatment groups, as described below. Twelve schools, selected to match twelve treatment schools, were kept as pure controls—i.e., the girls in the pure control schools were surveyed but none received negotiation training or after school activities.

An information treatment was randomly administered to half of the program participants in each school. Within treatment schools, the information session was cross-randomized with the three intervention treatments:
1. Safe Space group: Girls received a free lunch on session days, notebook, pens, and any other materials distributed throughout the project. They participated in six after-school sessions over two weeks, during which they could play games, study or do homework, or just talk with other girls. Trained female Zambian role models supervised these sessions.
2. Negotiation group: Girls received a free lunch on session days, notebook, pens, and any other materials distributed throughout the project. They participated in six sessions with female role models covering training on negotiation and inter-personal communication.
3. Control group within treatment schools: Girls assigned to this group did not participate in an afterschool program in 2013 but were offered the negotiation program following the conclusion of the midline survey.
Intervention Start Date
2012-05-01
Intervention End Date
2013-08-01
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
girl's capabilities, self-perception, rates of pregnancy, school attendance and advancement, STI/HIV rates
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
The Negotiation Curriculum is structured by four principles:
1. “Me” - identifying one’s own interests and options in conflict situations
2. “You” - identifying the other person’s interests, needs, and perspective
3. “Together” - identifying shared interests and small trades
4. “Build” - developing win-win solutions

The curriculum lays out certain situations in which it is necessary to be patient, or “Take 5,” as well as those in which the only outcome to keep the girl safe and healthy is to walk away and not negotiate.

Outcome measures will measure both the size and source of impact, capturing transformations in the girl’s capabilities, her interactions with others, and the outcomes of those interactions:
- Survey data: Self-perception, outcomes of arguments and discussion, intra-household allocations, and sexual risk exposure. Impact on the family measured through parent and sibling surveys to see if gains in participant well-being come at the expense of other family members.
- Real outcomes (administrative data from schools): Rates of pregnancy, school attendance and advancement, and potentially STI/HIV rates
- Behavioral measures: Take-up of an additional opportunity that requires child-parent negotiation, altered willingness to pay for schooling by parents, responses to negotiation scenario or partner game.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Public lottery
Randomization Unit
School
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
41 basic schools in Lusaka: 29 of them were randomly selected as “intervention schools” and the remaining 12 were "pure control" schools.
Sample size: planned number of observations
3146 female primary school students
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Treatment Schools:
Nothing: 384 girls
Info Session: 396 girls
Negotiation: 391 girls
Safe Space: 386 girls
Info Session X Negotiation: 410 girls
Info Session X Safe Space: 399 girls

Pure Control Schools:
Info Session: 390
Nothing: 390
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Supporting Documents and Materials

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IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
INNOVATIONS FOR POVERTY ACTION IRB – USA
IRB Approval Date
2012-06-20
IRB Approval Number
12June-003
Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
Yes
Intervention Completion Date
August 01, 2013, 12:00 AM +00:00
Is data collection complete?
Yes
Data Collection Completion Date
April 01, 2016, 12:00 AM +00:00
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
29 schools
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
2281 girls
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
Treatment Schools: Nothing: 274 girls Info Session: 272 girls Negotiation: 289 girls Safe Space: 300 girls Info Session X Negotiation: 304 girls Info Session X Safe Space: 282 girls Pure Control Schools: Info Session: 279 girls Nothing: 281 girls
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
No
Program Files
Program Files
Reports and Papers
Preliminary Reports
Abstract
"Negotiating a Better Future" HBS summary
Completion Date
June 30, 2011 12:00 AM +00:00
Url
http://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Profile%20Files/GN_OnePage_9-18-12_67dedee3-ef8b-467f-88e3-80097232ecf5.pdf
Relevant Papers
Abstract
Preliminary Results, Do Not Cite
Citation
Ashraf, Nava, Natalie Bau, Corinne Low, and Kathleen Mc Grinn."Negotiating a Better Future: How Interpersonal Skills Facilitate Inter-Generational Investment." Report, March 2017.