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Study Overview

Title:
Impact evaluation of the switch from restricted to unrestricted cash transfers in the Kalobeyei settlement
Study is 3ie funded:
No
Study ID:
RIDIE-STUDY-ID-5de6014a45563
Initial Registration Date:
12/03/2019
Last Update Date:
11/29/2019
Study Status:
In Development
Location(s):
Kenya
Abstract:

Two modalities of food assistance are currently co-exiting in Kalobeyei. Bamba Chakula is a programme of mobile money transfers which is restricted to food items (excluding alcohol and tobacco) and to specific shops that have a contract with WFP. About 7,000 households in Kalobeyei are currently benefiting from this cash transfer programme.

From June 2019, the Bamba Chakula transfers have been replaced by cash transfers on Equity Bank accounts for about 1050 households living in Kalobeyei Village 3, Neighbourhood 1-27. The cash transfers are "unrestricted", in the sense that they can be spent on any type of goods and anywhere in Kalobeyei. 

This research project aims to assess the impact of the switch to "unrestricted" cash transfers in Kalobeyei. We will compare households receiving food assistance in cash on an Equity Bank account (treatment group) to households receiving food assistance through Bamba Chakula (control group).

Categories:
Health, Nutrition, and Population
Social Protection
Additional Keywords:
cash transfers, vouchers, Kalobeyei, Kakuma
Secondary ID Number(s):

Principal Investigator(s)

Name of First PI:
Olivier Sterck
Affiliation:
University of Oxford
Name of Second PI:
Affiliation:
Intervention

Intervention Overview

Intervention:

Two modalities of food assistance are currently co-exiting in Kalobeyei. Bamba Chakula is a programme of mobile money transfers which is restricted to food items (excluding alcohol and tobacco) and to specific shops that have a contract with WFP. About 7,000 households in Kalobeyei are currently benefiting from this cash transfer programme.

From June 2019, the Bamba Chakula transfers have been replaced by cash transfers on Equity Bank accounts for about 1050 households living in Kalobeyei Village 3, Neighbourhood 1-27. The cash transfers are "unrestricted", in the sense that they can be spent on any type of goods and anywhere in Kalobeyei. 

Theory of Change:

(a) Direct treatment effects on consumption of food and non-food items

The switch to unrestricted cash transfers (UCT) is expected to have two types of effects on beneficiaries. First, a substitution effect, away from food consumption and towards the consumption of other goods. Second, a positive wealth effect for those who were previously reselling food items purchased using Bamba Chakula to be able to purchase non-food items. The sum of substitution and wealth effects on food consumption can be positive or negative. 

(b) Indirect treatment effects within households

Household members might have different preferences about the consumption of food and non-food items. The fact that non-food items becomes more accessible thanks to unrestricted cash transfers may generate conflicts within households whose members might have different preferences over food and non-food items. While the effects on consumption of food and non-food items should increase household welfare, increase in within-household tensions might reduce subjective well-being, especially for those who lost bargaining power because of the change.

 (c) Findings from preliminary qualitative research and implications on research hypotheses

Our qualitative research revealed the existence of strong credit relationships between refugees and shopkeepers that are likely to undermine the impacts of the switch.

Multiple Treatment Arms Evaluated?
No

Intervention Timing

Intervention or Program Started at time of Registration?
Yes
Start Date:
06/02/2019
End Date:
Evaluation Method

Evaluation Method Overview

Primary (or First) Evaluation Method:
Natural experiment
Other (not Listed) Method:
Additional Evaluation Method (If Any):
Regression with controls
Other (not Listed) Method:

Method Details

Details of Evaluation Approach:

Given the absence of randomized assignment to treatment, we are relying on quasi-experimental methods to identify the impact of the switch to unrestricted cash transfers. We will use two strategies to minimize bias resulting from pre-existing differences between the treatment and the control groups.

(1) We will exploit the quasi-random variation in the allocation of refugees upon arrival.

(2) We will use control variables and panel data methods to control for differences between the control and treatments groups that are not due to the switch to unrestricted cash transfers.

More details are provided in the pre-analysis plan.

Outcomes (Endpoints):

In line with the theory of change, we assess the impact of the switch to unrestricted cash transfers on the following outcome variables (expected direction of impact in parentheses):

  • Food expenditures per household member (+)
  • Dietary variety (?)
  • Calories intake per adult equivalent (?)
  • Value of food consumption per adult equivalent (?)
  • Food insecurity (?)
  • Expenditures on sodas, alcohol, restaurant, tobacco and leisure (+)
  • Non-food expenditures & transfers (+)
  • Assets holding (+)
  • Asset purchases (+)
  • Savings (+)
  • Credit (-)
  • Resale of food assistance (-)
  • Dummy for payment to authorities (+)
  • Women taking important decisions (?)
  • Disagreements about decision-making (+)
  • Subjective wellbeing (?)
  • Has a job dummy  (+)

The construction of outcome variables is described in the pre-analysis plan.

Unit of Analysis:
Refugee households and individuals
Hypotheses:

In line with the theory of change, we hypothesize that the treatment will have the effects:

  • A reduction in food expenditures
  • Uncertain effect on food consumption indicators
  • Increase in consumption of alcohol, tobacco, and non-food items
  • Increase in assets purchases and assets holding
  • Increase in savings
  • Reduction in the re-sale of items previously bought or received
  • Short-term increase in employment and entrepreneurship 
  • Changes in intra-household decision-making
  • Increased tensions within households about the use of transfers
  • Uncertain effect of the treatment on subjective well-being

Furthermore, we anticipate the following observations:

  • Households who have a credit line with a shopkeeper always use the same shopkeeper for purchases paid using Bamba Chakula or Equity Bank transfers.
  • The value of what they receive per month from retailers is lower.
  • For these households, the switch to unrestricted cash has no effect.
  • We anticipate that the effects of the treatment will be very small or null because many households are indebted. Many do not have the control over their Bamba Chakula sim cards or Equity Bank cards. For this reason, very few households end up withdrawing cash using their Equity Bank card.
Unit of Intervention or Assignment:
Neighborhood of the Kalobeyei settlement
Number of Clusters in Sample:
We plan to do a census of the Village 3 of Kalobeyei settlement.
Number of Individuals in Sample:
There are about 1500 South-Sudanese households, and about 2500 adults in Kalobeyei Village 3.
Size of Treatment, Control, or Comparison Subsamples:
About 450 households in the control group (800 adults), and 900 households in the treatment group (1600 adults).
Data

Outcomes Data

Description:
Our main source of data is the household survey that we will undertake in Kalobeyei Village 3 in November 2019. We aim to interview all South-Sudanese adults living it this site. More details are provided in the pre-analysis plan.
Data Already Collected?
No
Data Previously Used?
Data Access:
Data Obtained by the Study Researchers?
Data Approval Process:
Approval Status:

Treatment Assignment Data

Participation or Assignment Information:
Yes
Description:
Data Obtained by the Study Researchers?
Data Previously Used?
Data Access:
Data Obtained by the Study Researchers?
Data Approval Process:
Approval Status:

Data Analysis

Data Analysis Status:

Study Materials

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Registration Category

Registration Category:
Prospective, Category 1: Data for measuring impacts have not been collected
Completion

Completion Overview

Intervention Completion Date:
Data Collection Completion Date:
Unit of Analysis:
Clusters in Final Sample:
Total Observations in Final Sample:
Size of Treatment, Control, or Comparison Subsamples:

Findings

Preliminary Report:
Preliminary Report URL:
Summary of Findings:
Paper:
Paper Summary:
Paper Citation:

Data Availability

Data Availability (Primary Data):
Date of Data Availability:
Data URL or Contact:
Access procedure:

Other Materials

Survey:
Survey Instrument Links or Contact:
Program Files:
Program Files Links or Contact:
External Link:
External Link Description:
Description of Changes:

Study Stopped

Date:
Reason: