The American Economic Association's registry for randomized controlled trials
Impact evaluation of asset and cash transfers in South Sudan
Last registered on June 16, 2021
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Impact evaluation of asset and cash transfers in South Sudan
Initial registration date
June 15, 2021
June 16, 2021 10:55 AM EDT
University of California, Berkeley
Contact Primary Investigator
Other Primary Investigator(s)
BRAC Institute of Governance & Development
Innovations for Poverty Action
University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana
Additional Trial Information
Finance & Microfinance
Unconditional cash transfers
Studies have found that the ``graduation'' model can be
effective in alleviating the constraints that prevent extremely poor
households from increasing their productivity and income. This
consists of a sizable transfer of productive physical capital
coupled with training and coaching over the course of one or two
years. Related, there is evidence that a simpler program of
unconditional cash transfers (UCT's) may also improve household
productivity and welfare. Our field experiment provides a
comparison of these two approaches to transferring wealth to
low-income households during the first two years of BRAC's
ultra-poor pilot project in South Sudan. We consider the effect of
each program on productive and financial assets, income, and
consumption. We find evidence that both types of transfer have
positive effects on consumption, but only in the short-run. We find
a persistent increase in asset stocks, but only from the graduation
program. We also consider the graduation program's effect on
households' responses to the outbreak of violence in 2014 civil war,
and elicit suggestive evidence that BRAC's support may have helped
the beneficiaries to cope with the short-term economic effects of
Chowdhury, Reajul et al. 2021. "Impact evaluation of asset and cash transfers in South Sudan." AEA RCT Registry. June 16.
Sponsors & Partners
There are two principal interventions. The first involves enrolling eligible women into a "graduation" program, designed to provide capital and training to encourage entrepreneurial activity. Based on its assessment of the local markets, BRAC designed several possible
enterprises for the beneficiaries: goat husbandry, duck husbandry, maize cultivation, vegetable cultivation, and trade in dried fish. The
preferences of enrolled households over these different enterprises were elicited at baseline. The number of households to be given each kind of asset was set in advance, with 75 enrolled in agricultural activities (either maize or vegetable cultivation), 85 in duck rearing, 45 in goat rearing, and the rest in small trade involving dried fish. Within these limits, assignment to particular enterprises for each household was
made at the discretion of program staff after taking into account participants' preferences and skills. After assignment to a particular enterprise, participants attended two training sessions. The first of these was for general business skills, including literacy, numeracy, and financial
management. The next was sector-specific and focused on participants' respective enterprises. After these enterprise orientations were
complete, assets were transferred to recipients, valued at roughly 240 USD. Women subsequently attend weekly or semiweekly
meetings with other nearby participants to discuss the details of their businesses with each other and a BRAC extension officer. In
these group meetings, the participants also received food transfers collectively valued at roughly 110 USD.
The second intervention was an unconditional cash transfer, valued at roughly $350 (thus matching the value of the assets and food transferred in the first intervention).
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes (end points)
- Value of various productive assets
- Value of Livestock
- Value of stock of consumer durables
- Value of food stored
- Total cash savings
- Value of transfers to others
- Value of transfers from others
- Area of land cultivated
- Area of cultivable land owned
- Income from livestock
- Farm income
- Non-farm income
- Value of food consumed in last three days
- Value of non-durables purchased in last month
- Value of durables purchased in last year
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Totals of some of the primary outcomes will be assessed (e.g., total value of assets, total income). Whether or not households possess positive quantities of different variables will also be assessed.
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
1. A census of households in the study area is conducted, with data collected from each household to determine eligibility.
2. A baseline survey of eligible households is conducted, which among other things elicits preferences over different possible enterprises.
3. A female "primary respondent" from each eligible household is randomly assigned (at the individual level) to the graduation (UPG) group; the unconditional cash transfer (UCT) group; or the control group.
4. The intervention is effected.
5. A midline survey is conducted roughly eight months after intervention.
6. An endline survey is conducted roughly 20 months after intervention.
7. Outcomes are compared across UCT, UPG, and Control groups.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization done in office on a computer by drawing pseudo-random numbers from a uniform distribution using stata.
Was the treatment clustered?
Sample size: planned number of clusters
One treatment cluster.
Sample size: planned number of observations
755 eligible households; successfully collected baseline data for randomization from 649.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
250 in UPG program; 125 to UCT program; 274 to control.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Supporting Documents and Materials
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
University of California, Berkeley Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Post Trial Information
Is the intervention completed?
Is data collection complete?
Is public data available?
Reports, Papers & Other Materials
REPORTS & OTHER MATERIALS