Poverty measurement and the targeting of social protection programs

Last registered on July 12, 2022


Trial Information

General Information

Poverty measurement and the targeting of social protection programs
Initial registration date
July 10, 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
July 12, 2022, 10:47 AM EDT

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



Primary Investigator


Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Bentley University
PI Affiliation
Humboldt University of Berlin and Leiden University
PI Affiliation
Bryn Mawr College

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
In targeted antipoverty programs, the definition of deprivation determines who is in need, who receives program benefits, and, through them, program effects. Deprivation can be experienced in a wide range of dimensions, however, leading to tradeoffs in the determination of who is poor. We pre-specify the analysis of a nationwide field experiment in which we estimate the effects of targeting unconditional cash transfers to alternative measures of deprivation. To do this, we partnered with leading humanitarian agencies in Lebanon to experimentally vary the poverty measure used to target an at-scale year-long structured cash assistance program for refugees. Targeting among similar populations with the same amount of resources, we will estimate the program effect resulting from each of the alternative poverty targets across a range of economic well-being indicators. We further pre-specify the protocol for qualitative data collection and quantitative data analysis aimed at understanding the mechanisms that lead to differences in targeting effects.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Altindag, Onur et al. 2022. "Poverty measurement and the targeting of social protection programs." AEA RCT Registry. July 12. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.9725-1.0
Experimental Details


We target a scaled cash transfer program to alternative measures of deprivation and quantify effects on measures of household well-being.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Poverty measures (4), child well-being, living standards and livelihoods
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
property rights, social support networks, productive assets, savings behavior
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Starting in 2021, we partnered with UN agencies in Lebanon to experimentally vary the targeting of their cash-based assistance program to alternative measures of deprivation. The poverty measures that form the basis for the targeting in our four treatment arms are: (i) monetary poverty, as measured by per capita expenditure, (ii) severe or moderate food insecurity, as measured by the reduced Coping Strategies Index (rCSI), (iii) having poor or borderline food consumption, as measured by the Food Consumption Score (FCS), and (iv) being moderately or severely deprived in a Multidimensional Deprivation Index (MDI). For the 2021-22 assistance cycle, the full population of Syrian refugee households were assigned to one of the targeting treatment arms by lottery. Each treatment arm received 25 percent of total program resources to distribute to a fixed number of households deemed eligible in that arm.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer
Randomization Unit
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
>1,000 complier observations per treatment arm; >4,000 in primary survey sample
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Emory University Institutional Review Board
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Study #3157
Analysis Plan

There is information in this trial unavailable to the public. Use the button below to request access.

Request Information


Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

There is information in this trial unavailable to the public. Use the button below to request access.

Request Information


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