Certifying skills of unemployed youths in South Africa

Last registered on December 09, 2015


Trial Information

General Information

Certifying skills of unemployed youths in South Africa
Initial registration date
August 27, 2015

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
August 27, 2015, 2:23 PM EDT

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

Last updated
December 09, 2015, 8:57 PM EST

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


Primary Investigator

Harvard University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
University of Cape Town
PI Affiliation
Stellenbosch University

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
This project tests two interventions to reduce information asymmetries in the low/medium-skill sector of the South African labor market. We invite unemployed youths, who registered with the South African Department of Labour, to one of two treatments: i) participants complete an aptitude test in English and Math and receive a certificates with the result, ii) provide job seekers with a reference letter template and encourage them to have it filled out by a previous employer.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Abel, Martin, Rulof Burger and Patrizio Piraino. 2015. "Certifying skills of unemployed youths in South Africa." AEA RCT Registry. December 09. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.819-2.0
Former Citation
Abel, Martin, Rulof Burger and Patrizio Piraino. 2015. "Certifying skills of unemployed youths in South Africa." AEA RCT Registry. December 09. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/819/history/6273
Experimental Details


Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
We are interested in both job search behavior and in firm demand (e.g. interview invitations, job offers).

It is well known that many people leave metropolitan areas in December to migrate back to the area they grew up and where they often have family. We therefore expect that any surveys that ask about both job search behavior and employment outcomes maybe differ in this month. To account for this, we will control in regressions for whether people were surveyed in the month of December.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Job seekers registered with the Department of Labour are randomly assigned to different treatment groups (at the individual level). Random assignment is stratified by gender. The intended sample size is 1,500. Multiple rounds of follow-up data collections are administered via phone in the 6-9 months after the intervention.
Experimental Design Details
In the supply side intervention, the randomization happens as follows: We first establish a sampling frame by excluding whites, disabled, people with completed tertiary education from the ESSA sample. As part of the screening protocol, we screen people out that are either not looking for work or those who already have employment.

We allocate workshop treatment arms, conditional on availability of government career counselors, across weeks to balance days of the week across treatment arms. We create a random order within our sample frame and then call people and invite to a specific day. If they are not available we invite them to the next day. This is akin to a rerandomization. At no point does either the phone caller nor the job seeker know what treatment is offered. The calling protocol is identical across all treatment and control groups. After 400 observations, we did the following modification: for those not available on the first day, instead of the next day, we specify a day in the following week with the same treatment arm.
Randomization Method
Randomization is done via STATA.
Randomization Unit
Individual. Stratified by gender.
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Stellenbosch University IRB
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
IRB Name
University of Cape Town IRB
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
IRB Name
Harvard University Committee on the Use of Human Subjects
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number


Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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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