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Factory safety information and work decisions by garment sector workers in Bangladesh
Last registered on July 02, 2016

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Factory safety information and work decisions by garment sector workers in Bangladesh
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0000818
Initial registration date
September 06, 2015
Last updated
July 02, 2016 7:56 PM EDT
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Columbia University
Other Primary Investigator(s)
Additional Trial Information
Status
On going
Start date
2015-08-28
End date
2016-08-20
Secondary IDs
Abstract
Workers in developing countries often have limited information about job risks. As a result, workers may not be compensated for bearing workplace risks (Smith, 1979). Furthermore, worker-firm matches may be inefficient, which may generate turnover (Viscusi, 1979), and labor markets may be incomplete. There is a lack of empirical evidence, however, about how imperfect information about job risks affects employment outcomes for these workers. Furthermore, little is known known about their willingness, if informed about job risks, to trade-off wages for exposure to risk. This research aims to provide the first experimental evidence of how limited information about job risks affects workers’ employment outcomes in developing countries and to identify these workers’ wage-safety elasticity. I study Bangladesh’s ready-made garment (RMG) sec- tor, where I document that workers are largely unable to perceive their jobs’ riskiness. I analyze how an information asymmetry about safety between workers and factory owners affects workers’ abilities to make optimal employment decisions. I conduct a field experiment with 309 workers in Savar, a sub-district of Dhaka home to many garment factories. In the experiment, I provide a randomly selected group of workers with information about their factories’ performances, and the performances of numerous factories nearby, on third-party safety audits. I use follow-up phone calls and other methods to determine how the information affects workers’ perceptions about safety and employment decisions.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Boudreau, Laura. 2016. "Factory safety information and work decisions by garment sector workers in Bangladesh." AEA RCT Registry. July 02. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.818-4.0.
Former Citation
Boudreau, Laura. 2016. "Factory safety information and work decisions by garment sector workers in Bangladesh." AEA RCT Registry. July 02. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/818/history/9237.
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
Treatment group: After participating in a survey (see survey attachment), the treatment group participants receive information about their factory and other factories’ nearby performance on structural, electrical, and fire safety audits conducted by a third-party auditor. Specifically, enumerators follow a script (see treatment group post-survey script attachment) in which they tell the participant how many times their factory does not comply with the “High Priority” safety rules for the audits; they also tell the participant how their factory ranks compared to 71 factories nearby for which the safety audits are available. Then the enumerator provides the participant with a flyer that includes information about the audits and a list of the best and relatively worse performing factories nearby (see attachment). It also includes a phone number that the participant can call for additional information about safety.

Control group: Control group participants also participate in a survey do not receive the information about safety at the end. They hear a short post-survey script and receive a flyer with a phone number that they can call for more information (see control group post-survey script and flyer attachments).

Intervention Start Date
2015-08-28
Intervention End Date
2015-09-28
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Primary outcome variables: Outcome A: Leaving one’s job at the factory where employed at time of intervention between the intervention date and the time of the Round 3 follow-up phone call; Outcome B: Reporting plans to leave one’s job in the near future; Outcome C: Referring one’s family and friends to get a job at the factory where em- ployed at time of intervention between the intervention date and the time of the Round 3 follow-up phone call; Outcome D: Calling the safety information hotline between the intervention date and the time of the Round 3 follow-up phone call; Outcome E: Safety perception index.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
I randomly assign walking routes for enumerators into treatment (factory safety information provided) and control (no factory safety information provided) conditions. Enumerators obtain a random sample of garments along each walking route using a right-hand sampling rule (see attachments). All participants along one walking route are assigned to either the treatment or the control group.

Identification of walking routes: After selecting the location of the field experiment, I mapped the locations of all factories for which the third-party safety audits were publicly available (71 factories). Following a site visit to determine reasonable assumptions for how proximate garment workers’ residences are to their factories, I determined the geographic area to be included in the study. Then I determined the locations of 24 clusters of workers by aiming to maximize distance between walking routes subject to identifying housing units along each route (using Google satellite imagery).

Treatment and control group participants receive follow-up phone calls three and six months after the survey during which they are asked a series of follow-up questions.
Experimental Design Details
Participants’ factories in this study can be grouped into three categories: Top safety performers, intermediate safety performers, and poor safety performers. Participants in the treatment group will learn which type of factory they work at, and therefore their response to the treatment is expected to be different depending on which type of factory they work at. When I test whether the treatment had an effect on the outcome variables of interest, I will specifically test for differential effects across these three groups. The three groups are pre-determined by the study design: 10 factories are listed as top performers, and 17 factories are listed as bottom performers, on the safety information sheet provided to participants. The remaining 44 factories are the intermediate group.
Randomization Method
Randomization was done in the office using the statistical program R.
Randomization Unit
Walking routes through neighborhoods with dense populations of garment workers were the unit of randomization. Each walking route was randomly assigned to either treatment or control.
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
24 clusters of 13 workers per cluster. 12 treatment clusters and 12 control clusters.
Sample size: planned number of observations
312 participants were planned. The final number of study participants is 309 participants.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
156 participants in the treatment group and 156 participants in the control group were planned. The final number of participants in each group is 152 participants in the treatment group and 157 in the control group.
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
University of California-Berkeley Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects
IRB Approval Date
2015-08-21
IRB Approval Number
2015-05-7624
IRB Name
University of California-Berkeley Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects
IRB Approval Date
2015-10-20
IRB Approval Number
2015-05-7624
Analysis Plan

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Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
No
Is data collection complete?
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
No
Program Files
Program Files
Reports and Papers
Preliminary Reports
Relevant Papers