Farms, Jobs and the protection of natural habitats: experimental evidence from the DRC

Last registered on May 31, 2022

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Farms, Jobs and the protection of natural habitats: experimental evidence from the DRC
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0009480
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
May 31, 2022, 8:42 AM EDT

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

Locations

Primary Investigator

Affiliation
University of Oxford

Other Primary Investigator(s)

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

Additional Trial Information

Status
On going
Start date
2021-06-21
End date
2024-12-31
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Abstract
In this study, we ask whether structural transformation in the form of migration and movement from agriculture into non-agriculture can be incentivized and study the consequences for the demand for agricultural land – a direct proxy of pressures on biodiversity. 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. We test two policy incentives in a randomised control trial. In the first treatment arm, we provide a labelled cash transfer to some young farmers, intended for travel to search for jobs in nearby towns. In the second treatment arm, we offer other young farmers a guaranteed fixed-term urban job, in addition to the labelled cash transfer. A third group of farmers receive nothing in the study. We measure whether these incentives increase non-agricultural employment and reduce demand for agricultural land.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Dercon, Stefan et al. 2022. "Farms, Jobs and the protection of natural habitats: experimental evidence from the DRC." AEA RCT Registry. May 31. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.9480
Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
The first intervention offers young farmers a labelled cash transfer, intended for travel to the nearby towns, alleviating the budget constraint of these farmers. The second intervention seeks to de-risk migration by offering young farmers a guaranteed fixed term urban job, in addition to the labelled cash transfer. The temporary job is intended to be a certain outside option to agriculture and boosts demand, as well as supply, for non-agricultural employment, assuming that there may not be enough labour demand in these urban centres. Specifically, we create a three-month guaranteed job in a small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) located in nearby cities in North Kivu where we subsidise the wages for these enterprises.
Intervention Start Date
2021-09-06
Intervention End Date
2023-03-31

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
1. Non-agricultural employment activity
2. Agricultural activity
3. Demand for agricultural land
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
1. Non-agricultural employment activity: Dummy variable indicating whether the respondent has done any non-agricultural work in the past 7 days, inclusive of casual, formal and self-employment
2. Agricultural activity: Dummy variable indicating whether the respondent has not worked in agriculture in the past 7 days
3. Demand for agricultural land: Amount of land cultivated

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Eligible farmers are randomly chosen in localities where agricultural activities encroach conservation efforts undertaken by Virunga National Park, and hence where reducing the demand for lands is a priority to effectively protect the park. These areas are identified along with our partner, Virunga National Park. Participants are defined to be eligible if they were farming, did not have a full-time non-agricultural job and between 18 and 32 years old.

Eligible SMEs are randomly drawn from the list of electricity clients listed with Virunga Energies, a subsidiary of the park in charge of green electricity production and distribution to promote SME creation. The list of SMEs cover all the SME in Rutsuru, Lubero and Mutwanga territories, and over half of the city of Goma.

We randomly assign eligible farmers into one of three groups:

1. Treatment A: In the first treatment arm, we offer young farmers a labelled cash transfer, intended for travel to the nearby towns, alleviating the budget constraint of these young farmers.

2. Treatment B: In the second treatment arm, we further de-risk migration by offering young farmers a guaranteed fixed term urban job, in addition to the labelled cash transfer. The temporary job is intended to be a certain outside option to agriculture and boosts demand, as well as supply, for non-agricultural employment, assuming that there may not be enough labour demand in these urban centres. Specifically, we create a three-month guaranteed job in a small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) located in nearby cities in North Kivu where we subsidise the wages for these enterprises.

3. Control group: In the control group, young farmers receive no incentive.

To manage implementation logistics against a backdrop of high insecurity, the study will be rolled out in two waves, with the first phase starting in June 2021 and the second phase starting approximately 12 to 18 months later.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomisation was carried out in an office with a computer using STATA, and we stratified randomisation by gender, wave, baseline location and a dummy variable indicating whether the household was found to be farming inside the park vs on its outskirts.
Randomization Unit
Individual
Was the treatment clustered?
No

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 A (labelled cash transfer): 600 farmers
Treatment B (fixed term job guarantee): 600 farmers
Control group: 600 farmers
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.
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
CUREC (DREC)
IRB Approval Date
2021-04-01
IRB Approval Number
ECONCIA21-22-14
Analysis Plan

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