We randomly select the sample for our intervention groups and our experimental control group using administrative data provided by SSA. Our sampling frame is the sample of parents of kids receiving SSI who are 14-17.5, have not had an older sibling on SSI at age 17, speak English or Spanish as their primary language, have a projected probability of removal between 35%-95%, were not selected for one of our pilot surveys, and have either (a) above-median removal probability for their state (meaning that, in most cases, we only examine children with relatively high removal probabilities), OR (b) are in a state where we expect to get administrative education data (where we hence include those with both high and low removal probabilities since we want to maximize our potential sample size for education data outcomes).
Those not selected but who are in our sampling frame represent our “pure control” group which we are not analyzing for our short-run outcomes analysis, but may bring in for analyses of longer-run outcomes.
Each household in the information treatment group, primed information treatment group, or experimental control group is mailed a letter inviting them to participate in our websurvey. Parents can then log on and complete (or complete via phone) our survey, which consists of a baseline survey, the intervention video, and an endline survey.
The intervention video will vary by treatment group.
- The information and primed information treatment groups will view the video on their child’s removal probability
- The experimental control group will be randomly divided into two groups—One that receives a placebo video on the history of SSI and the other that receives a placebo video on the geography of SSI.
After the video ends, those in the “primed information” treatment group also see a screen that gives more information about how SSI makes removal decisions.
The endline survey has three main parts. First, we ask several questions about perceived likelihood of removal and plans for the future (e.g., whether the parent thinks their child will attend college and whether the parent plans to work in the coming years). Second, we offer parents the choice between receiving their survey completion incentive in cash vs a reduced cash payment plus a Career Readiness Book for Teens (in the second round of the survey, we offer a Career Book for Parents in place of the Career Book for Teens). At this point, we also offer the choice between $300 worth of tutoring for their child vs $50 cash should they be selected as a lottery winner. Finally, at the end of the websurvey, we invite all participants to the “Resource Center” where they can sign up for free opportunities for their child including Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) services, an ABLE savings account, and math tutoring. At the invitation, those who are randomized to receive the “Confidentiality treatment” will be told that their take-up decisions will be confidential and not shared with the Social Security Administration.
After completing the survey, parents can go to the Resource Center and select educational and career-readiness resources for their child at no charge to them. Those who are randomized to receive the “Confidentiality Treatment” will also see the confidentiality message on the main screen of the Resource Center where they select their resources.
In the weeks following completion, parents will receive additional follow-up mailings, emails, and texts (if they consent to being contacted by email and text) with reminders about resources and the information intervention (or placebo information).
Our longer-term plan will then be to gather longer-term outcomes and compare the experimental control and experimental treatment groups. If survey take-up is sufficiently high, we will also incorporate the pure control as another comparison group for those analyses.