From farms to jobs: Promoting conservation through active labour market policies for structural transformation

Last registered on December 07, 2023


Trial Information

General Information

From farms to jobs: Promoting conservation through active labour market policies for structural transformation
Initial registration date
May 23, 2022

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
May 23, 2022, 7:23 PM EDT

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

Last updated
December 07, 2023, 4:10 AM EST

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


Primary Investigator

University of Oxford

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Center for Environmental Economics Montpellier
PI Affiliation
University of Oxford
PI Affiliation
Virunga National Park
PI Affiliation
Centre for Environmental Economics-Montpellier

Additional Trial Information

On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
In this study, we ask whether structural transformation in the form of movement from agriculture into non-agriculture can be incentivized and study the consequences for the demand for agricultural land – the primary cause of natural habitat and biodiversity loss worldwide. Specifically, we ask whether we can persistently draw young farmers out of agriculture in areas in North Kivu where agricultural activity conflicts with biodiversity conservation led by the Virunga National Park (VNP) and study the possible implications for land use. In a randomised control trial, we test whether offering young farmers a guaranteed fixed-term urban job can induce them to migrate and take up non-agricultural work. We compare the effects of this policy incentive to a short-term daily work scheme, which does not require farmers to move away from their villages. A third group of farmers receive nothing in the study. We also cross-randomise a short environmental education session across all three arms. We measure whether these incentives increase non-agricultural employment and reduce demand for agricultural land.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Dercon, Stefan et al. 2023. "From farms to jobs: Promoting conservation through active labour market policies for structural transformation." AEA RCT Registry. December 07.
Experimental Details


We test the impact of two interventions on farmers who are impacting conservation efforts in a national park in North Kivu through a randomised control trial. In the first intervention, we offer farmers a 3-month fixed-term job guarantee ("internship") in a small and medium enterprise (SME) in nearby cities, where we subsidise the wages for these enterprises. In the second intervention, we offer similar farmers casual daily work in non-agricultural sectors, such as construction, within the immediate surrounds of their villages. A third group of farmers receive no intervention.

All three groups are cross randomised with a 2-hours environmental education session. The session led by VNP aims to provide information about the park, the importance and benefits of conservation, what it is permitted and forbidden to do in the park, and park activities.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
1. Non-agricultural employment
2. Days of agricultural activity
3. Demand for agricultural land
4. Migration
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
1. Non-agricultural employment: Dummy variable indicating whether the respondent has done any non-agricultural work in the past 7 days, including formal and self-employment.

2. Days of agricultural activity: A continuous variable indicating how many days the respondent has worked in agriculture in the past 7 days.

3. Demand for agricultural land: Amount of land cultivated at the household level.

4. Migration: Dummy variable indicating whether the respondent lives outside of their village of origin at the time of the survey.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
We implement a randomised control trial to test the impact of offering a fixed-term urban job guarantee on non-agricultural employment and demand for agricultural land. Target villages are identified in collaboration with the Virunga National Park, with the view to meet two criteria: (1) a stable security situation and (2) areas in which agricultural activities encroach conservation efforts.

To manage implementation logistics against a backdrop of high insecurity, the study will be rolled out in phases. Each phase will follow the same implementation structure. The Virunga National Park will first an information campaign to encourage interested farmers to apply for a 3-month fully subsidised internship programme in a small firm located in a nearby town. A random sample of participants are drawn from the pool of eligible applicants.

We randomise approximately 1,800 eligible farmers into one of three groups:

1. Treatment 1: 3-month fixed-term job guarantee ("internship") in an SME in nearby towns and cities.
2. Treatment 2: Short-term casual employment offered by the Virunga National Park
3. Control group: No intervention.

All three treatment groups are cross randomised with a 2-hours environmental education session.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomisation was carried out in an office with a computer using R, and we stratify by gender, wave, baseline location and a dummy variable indicating high amount of cultivated land (split at the median value).
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Study not clustered
Sample size: planned number of observations
1,800 farmers
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Treatment 1 (fixed-term job guarantee): 600 farmers
Treatment 2 (casual daily work): 600 farmers
Control group: 600 farmers

Cross-randomised into environmental education session (N=900) and no environmental education session (N=900)
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
With 600 farmers per treatment arm, we are powered to measure a 32% increase in non-agricultural employment status, from a baseline mean of 20.5% and standard deviation of 0.404.

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

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