Conventional Roles, Information Asymmetries and the Intergenerational Flow of Agricultural Innovations: Evidence from a School-based Agricultural Education Program in Liberia

Last registered on August 09, 2022

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Conventional Roles, Information Asymmetries and the Intergenerational Flow of Agricultural Innovations: Evidence from a School-based Agricultural Education Program in Liberia
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0007841
Initial registration date
June 22, 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
June 23, 2021, 8:34 AM EDT

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

Last updated
August 09, 2022, 11:28 PM EDT

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

Locations

Primary Investigator

Affiliation
Northwestern University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

Additional Trial Information

Status
In development
Start date
2021-06-21
End date
2023-12-31
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Abstract
The convenient benchmark of Pareto efficiency in intra-household resource allocation faces empirical challenges when household members have disincentives to share information in decisions such as savings, fertility and investments (Ashraf, 2009; Ashraf et al, 2014; Ozier and Jakiela, 2015). While barriers to information flows caused by conflicting preferences present a challenge for efficient household models, there are no clear policy recommendations because lifting these barriers involves difficult tradeoffs. For instance, when discussing whether contraceptives should be delivered to women in a manner that is concealed from their husbands, Ashraf et al (2014) note that there is a tradeoff between privately improving women's set of choices and lowering the conjugal value of marriage. This paper explores barriers to information flows in production that are not caused by conflicts in preferences. Instead, these barriers are caused by miscoordination of expectations due to an interplay of conventional roles and asymmetric information about changes in one party's production expertise; and thus, through interventions that tackle the information asymmetry, mutually agreeable interactions between household members can be exploited to achieve policy objectives.

I study the flow of information about agricultural innovations across generations in a school-based agricultural education (SBAE) program in Liberia. A shift away from students' conventional roles as assistants on farms is needed as the program leverages students (aged 12-20) as agents of diffusion. I hypothesize that given an information asymmetry between students and their household elders about students' learning activities in schools, both parties form expectations about opponent behavior that are influenced by the status quo in production, thus failing to coordinate on costly interactions that foster information diffusion, including efforts in communicating and learning promoted practices (Hanna et al, 2014; BenYishay and Mobarak, 2019) and application of promoted practices on students' farms. I implement household-level randomized interventions to identify the effects of interventions tackling (i) information barriers facing elders; and (ii) \emph{additional} barriers to information flows due to students' 2nd-order uncertainty about elders' expectations about whether they have relevant farming attributes, holding constant elders' expectations and preferences for interactions with students.

This experiment is embedded in a general randomized evaluation of the school-based agricultural education program (AEARCTR-0006671).
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Lee, Jimmy. 2022. "Conventional Roles, Information Asymmetries and the Intergenerational Flow of Agricultural Innovations: Evidence from a School-based Agricultural Education Program in Liberia." AEA RCT Registry. August 09. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.7841
Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
I design a 2 x 2 randomized experiment among 1000 households with students in 50 schools that join the school-based agricultural program (4-H Liberia) in 2021. Our household-level interventions encourage students and their elders to imagine, at the beginning of the program (and of the first rainy season), the consequences of students' active participation in the program.

The first randomization aims to encourage elders (in students' households) to learn about and support their students' potential growth in farming skills, attitudes, and commitments. Half of the households receive an invitation to treatment video sessions; the other half receive an invitation to placebo video sessions. For every household, the representative elder who attends the session must be a farmer growing crops in the promoted categories (root crops or vegetables). Each video session has 5 elders and lasts around 1.5 hours: baseline questions; video display on a laptop under palava huts; and follow-up questions. Treatment video sessions display a 14-minute video that (i) provides an overview of the program and (ii) summarizes program impact on students’ farming skills, attitudes, and livelihoods from past participants (in communities that are not included in the sample). Placebo video sessions display a 4-minute video that ONLY provides an overview of the program. Both videos are taken from footage shot during late 2020 - early 2021 by a third-party media production company in Liberia. The treatment video is a long version that encompasses everything in the placebo video. We also independently randomize who in the households attend the video sessions (both treatment and placebo): for half of the households, a male is invited to the sessions; for the other half of the households, a female is invited.

The second randomization aims to overcome potential coordination difficulties between students and their elders by encouraging students to reach out to their elders (to introduce the program, what they have learnt, suggest new farming ideas, and propose to manage farms, etc).
During the video sessions, we collect (before showing videos) elders' beliefs about students' current farming skills, attitudes, and commitments; and (after showing video) elders' forward-looking expectations about the same attributes of students in 1 year. We ask if elders would give their consent for IPA to reveal their positive expectations to students. We then manipulate students' information about their elders' expectations in a follow-up survey. In half of the households, we deliver (i) revelation messages that reveal expectations from elders to students and (ii) encouragement messages that ask students to take on the role as an agent of diffusion of new practices. In the other half of the households, we deliver ONLY encouragement messages.
Intervention Start Date
2021-06-21
Intervention End Date
2021-07-31

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Please refer to our pre-analysis plans.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
I test the significance of my hypothesized mechanism - information asymmetry in changes of students' farming skills, attitudes, and commitments - in a 2 x 2 experiment among 1000 households with students in 50 schools that join the school-based agricultural program (4-H Liberia) in 2021.

We identify our effects as follows. I test the first hypothesis - that there is room to encourage elders in students' households to learn about the positive impacts of the program (on students' farming attributes) - using the first randomization. Households that are invited to treatment video sessions will be compared to households that are invited to placebo video sessions.

I test the second hypothesis - that even when elders in students' households have positive expectations about students' growth in farming attributes, there are difficulties for elders to reveal these expectations to students (e.g. because farming ideas and knowledge about the program belong to students) - using the second randomization. Households that receive the "revelation + encouragement" treatment will be compared to households that receive the "encouragement" treatment.

The selection of our household sample is done in schools. Students are randomly drawn from Grades 4, 5, 7, and 8 (stratified by school and gender). Informed by pilot survey data, we implement a series of screening criteria in selecting 20 students per school who are likely to participate in the program. Selected students must be aged 12-20; must have at least one elder in the household who is planting root crops or vegetables; and must be from separate households. We prioritize students who had farming experience or joined cooperative labor groups (kuu) before 2021. We also prioritize students who have both male and female elders in the household who are planting root crops or vegetables.

All baseline surveys and household-level interventions (same or next day after baseline surveys) will be conducted in June - August 2021. A follow-up survey after the major rainy season (typically April - October) will take place in November 2021 - January 2022. Two further follow-up surveys might take place in April - June 2022 and September - November 2022 to track long-run outcomes. Students' participation in program activities will be monitored by our partners 4-H Liberia and AgriCorps; these data will be linked to our baseline surveys.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization done in IPA office by a computer, using student ID (which is sorted according to schools, grades, and gender of students). Randomization was done before students are recruited into the sample, and was stratified based on schools and gender of students.
Randomization Unit
For video treatment: household
For revelation treatment: household
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
1000 households in total.
Sample size: planned number of observations
1000 students (500 male, 500 female) and 1000 elder farmers (500 male, 500 female).
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
250 households receiving treatment video and "revelation + encouragement" treatment;
250 households receiving placebo video and "revelation + encouragement" treatment;
250 households receiving treatment video and "encouragement" treatment;
250 households receiving placebo video and "encouragement" treatment.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Supporting Documents and Materials

Documents

Document Name
Class-level screening survey of students
Document Type
survey_instrument
Document Description
This is the class-level screening survey for sampling students at each school.
File
Class-level screening survey of students

MD5: 2d72cfed78f3f0200c5d657eb54b3bea

SHA1: 43ac7e47c2b917f06a19bfb7f95ae56906f31c03

Uploaded At: August 08, 2021

Document Name
Baseline test for students in treatment schools
Document Type
survey_instrument
Document Description
This is the baseline test for sampled students in 50 treatment schools (without HH-level interventions).
File
Baseline test for students in treatment schools

MD5: 57e3947195406f300e274080b8ca235f

SHA1: d6dd8b981c919289c1387239c666c3bd841bb630

Uploaded At: August 08, 2021

Document Name
Baseline test for students in control schools
Document Type
survey_instrument
Document Description
This is the baseline test for sampled students in 97 control schools.
File
Baseline test for students in control schools

MD5: 7aab7d78ea91a95070a02875be9ed3b4

SHA1: d06a00b78767389c651d4d3fde3570e5ef471752

Uploaded At: August 08, 2021

Document Name
Baseline survey for students in treatment schools with HH-level interventions
Document Type
survey_instrument
Document Description
This is the baseline survey for sampled students in 50 treatment schools (with HH-level interventions).
File
Baseline survey for students in treatment schools with HH-level interventions

MD5: 9c5fb7f5201ae5838d71082fb1b28b59

SHA1: 974585a9553bf548a4bc9bbef7dcab6181535558

Uploaded At: August 08, 2021

Document Name
Follow-up survey of elders
Document Type
survey_instrument
Document Description
This is the follow-up survey for sampled elders in 50 treatment schools (with HH-level interventions). This takes place immediately after the presentation of treatment/placebo video to elders.
File
Follow-up survey of elders

MD5: 31dad4b3d0ce8fd6eea6b3bfb6fe7c3d

SHA1: 82d5bc09629d412d8cec9adf9045adf7296892c3

Uploaded At: August 08, 2021

Document Name
Baseline survey of elders
Document Type
survey_instrument
Document Description
This is the baseline survey for sampled elders in 50 treatment schools (with HH-level interventions).
File
Baseline survey of elders

MD5: 287eab6fe5f687ee11d03db56cd5e383

SHA1: 89a9cdafe2478edeedf12efc96d8129238279980

Uploaded At: August 08, 2021

Document Name
AgriCorps Theory of Change
Document Type
other
Document Description
This is the theory of change presented to me by my partner AgriCorps when we first met in 2019.
File
AgriCorps Theory of Change

MD5: 69c4c13c288b4be898227a1f390f2f0f

SHA1: 0d4440d54388f494d5e3057f7751e598aae7adf7

Uploaded At: August 08, 2021

Document Name
Follow-up survey of students
Document Type
survey_instrument
Document Description
This is the follow-up survey for sampled students in 50 treatment schools (with HH-level interventions). This survey includes the treatment/placebo revelation messages.
File
Follow-up survey of students

MD5: 31dad4b3d0ce8fd6eea6b3bfb6fe7c3d

SHA1: 82d5bc09629d412d8cec9adf9045adf7296892c3

Uploaded At: August 08, 2021

IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Northwestern University IRB
IRB Approval Date
2019-12-20
IRB Approval Number
STU00211435
IRB Name
Innovations for Poverty Action IRB
IRB Approval Date
2019-12-03
IRB Approval Number
15307
IRB Name
University of Liberia IRB
IRB Approval Date
2021-02-05
IRB Approval Number
18-11-185
Analysis Plan

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