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Study Overview

“Cash for Winterization” Impact Analysis Survey
Study is 3ie funded:
Study ID:
Initial Registration Date:
Last Update Date:
Study Status:
Change History for Status
Changed On Previous Value
07/15/2018 Ongoing
IRC seeks to analyze the impact of the winterization cash assistance program for Syrian refugees in Lebanon. The analysis will assess impacts on household well being, local economies, and community dynamics. This evaluation requires a survey that will be conducted during April and May 2014. The survey seeks the explore how the winterization program affected three areas: (1) household well being, (2) local economies, and (3) community dynamics. A number of substantive areas will capture household well being and/or local economy effects. We will measure living conditions, assets, consumption, dietary diversity, food security, and health conditions. We will also measure economic activities, inflation and finance including expected earnings and debt.
Registration Citation:
Additional Keywords:
Refugees, Syria, Lebanon, UNHCR, United Nations, Regression-Discontinuity Design, Natural Experiment, Causal Inference, Cash Aid, Cash Transfers, Household well-being, local economies, social dynamics
Secondary ID Number(s):

Principal Investigator(s)

Name of First PI:
Daniel Masterson
Yale University
Name of Second PI:
Christian Lehmann
University of Brasilia

Study Sponsor

Study Sponsor Location:
United Kingdom

Research Partner

Name of Partner Institution:
International Rescue Committee
Type of Organization:
United Kingdom

Intervention Overview

UNHCR and implementing partners transferred cash to eligible Syrian refugees living in Lebanon. Eligibility was determined by geographic criteria (only villages above 500m were considered) as well as demographic criteria (a “vulnerability” score was calculated based on set of household demographics and only households with a score above a certain cut-off point were considered eligible). The Winterization program included distributions of: (in November 2013) 1a. 220,000 LBP ($150 USD, calculated as contributions for fuel [$100] and a stove [$50]); 1b. In-­kind blankets (1 per person) were also provided to registered refugees. And (Dec 2013 – March 2014) 2. Monthly 160,000 LBP ($100 USD) based on the amount calculated for fuel.
Private Intervention Details:
Theory of Change:
Multiple Treatment Arms Evaluated?

Implementing Agency

Name of Organization:
Type of Organization:
Foreign or Multilateral Aid Agency

Program Funder

Name of Organization:
Type of Organization:
Foreign or Multilateral Aid Agency

Intervention Timing

Intervention or Program Started at time of Registration?
Start Date:
End Date:
Evaluation Method

Evaluation Method Overview

Primary (or First) Evaluation Method:
Regression discontinuity
Other (not Listed) Method:
Additional Evaluation Method (If Any):
Other (not Listed) Method:

Method Details

Details of Evaluation Approach:
In order to evaluate the impact of the winterization program, we will collect and analyze survey data from 1400 respondents. Information will be collected through interviews with the head of household as well as direct observation. We define head of household as whoever is mainly responsible for how the household spends its money. We will survey villages within the altitude range 450m to 550m. The assignment of villages and households to the program based on the altitude cut-off allows one to estimate the impact of the winterization program using a Regression Discontinuity Design (RDD). The intuition behind this research design is to compare villages and households slightly above the altitude cut-off to households slightly below altitude cut-off. Thus, villages and households slightly below the cut-off serve as a control group (counterfactual) for villages and households slightly above the cut-off.
Private Details of Evaluation Approach:
Outcomes (Endpoints):
1. Multiplier effects - How much of cash is spent on which good/service to quantify the multiplier effects of cash assistance, i.e. how much of cash transfer is passed on to which type of producer/service provider. 2. Elasticity of markets --Measuring local prices and spending on goods/services allows one to study elasticity (response) of local markets to the sudden increase in demand. If one observes both a higher price and little increase in consumption of some essential item, then this indicates that the market response for this particular item is quite inelastic. 3. Inflation -- Measurement of local prices. 4. Wages -- Measurement of hourly wages. 5. Rents 6. Consumption -- Detailed measurement of consumption by item. 7. Health -- Aggregate measures of physical disabilities; incidence of illness. 8. Psychological Well-Being -- Index of Emotional Well-Being. 9. Household Assets. 10. Economic Activities. 10a. Reported earned income. 10b. Days worked. 11. Financial. 11a. Debt -- Outstanding cash loans. 11b. Savings -- Self-report savings. 12. Social Capital/Community Conflicts -- community relations, community involvement, conflicts.
Unit of Analysis:
Household -- the people who sleep under the same roof most nights and share the same pot. They do not need to be members of immediate family.
We will test for treatment/control group differences in the following. 1. The effect of cash assistance on beneficiary and non-beneficiary households: • HH expenditure structure. HH expenditure prioritization. • Spending on winter goods, like fuel. • Costs associated with receiving aid. • Reductions in negative coping strategies. • Inequalities between beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries. Was cash shared with amongst households not targeted? • Aid modality preferences (with sub-group analysis). • Was the cash assistance a pull-factor for refugees settling in Lebanon and specific areas of the country? • Protection issues or negative side effect (abuse by community leaders, or landlords). • Risks of large-scale cash assistance interventions. 2. The effect on local economies: • Market failure or issues that compromised access to markets. • Multiplier effects of injections of cash in local economies. • Inflation rate. • Local debt and credit markets. • Market elasticity for the most purchased goods and services. 3. The effect of cash aid on social and political community dynamics: • Syrian-Lebanese community relations. • Syrian-Syrian community relations.
Unit of Intervention or Assignment:
UNHCR case number
Number of Clusters in Sample:
Number of Individuals in Sample:
Size of Treatment, Control, or Comparison Subsamples:

Supplementary Files

Analysis Plan:
Other Documents:

Outcomes Data

Household survey.
Data Already Collected?
Data Previously Used?
Data Access:
Not restricted - access with no requirements or minimal requirements (e.g. web registration)
Data Obtained by the Study Researchers?
Data Approval Process:
Approval Status:

Treatment Assignment Data

Participation or Assignment Information:
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

Upload Study Materials:
Main survey instrument: 2014 05.05 IRC Cash baseline survey Final.docx
Extra questions for community-stratified random sample of respondents : 2014 05.05 IRC Community Survey Final.doc

Registration Category

Registration Category:
Prospective, Category 3: Data for measuring impacts have been obtained/collected by the research team but analysis for this evaluation has not started

Completion Overview

Intervention Completion Date:
Data Collection Completion Date:
Unit of Analysis:
Clusters in Final Sample:
89 towns
Total Observations in Final Sample:
1,358 households
Size of Treatment, Control, or Comparison Subsamples:
727 households in the control group, 631 in treatment. NB: Attrition was balanced across treatment and control groups (74.1 vs. 72.7%).


Preliminary Report:
Preliminary Report URL:
Summary of Findings:
The research found a number of impacts from the cash assistance: The current value of cash assistance is too low to meet the program’s objective of allowing all beneficiaries to keep warm constantly throughout the winter and beneficiaries only partially use it for this purpose. The program did not have a meaningful impact on prices. Cash assistance increases access to school and reduces child labor. The program has significant multiplier effects on the local economy; each dollar that beneficiaries spend generates 2.13 dollars of GDP for the Lebanese economy. The vast majority of beneficiaries (more than 80 percent) prefer cash assistance compared to in-kind assistance (e.g., food parcels). Refugee households have no savings and a household’s labor income is not even high enough to cover the cost for food and water. The study found no evidence of a number of hypothesized negative consequences of cash assistance. For instance, there was no evidence of beneficiaries spending cash assistance irresponsibly or meaningfully reducing labor supply. The research did not find that cash assistance exacerbates corruption and exploitation, or draws more refugees to beneficiary areas.
Paper Summary:
Paper Citation:

Data Availability

Data Availability (Primary Data):
Yes--Available in the future
Date of Data Availability:
Data URL or Contact:
Access procedure:
Data availability date is approximate: After publication of an academic article, the data will be made available.

Other Materials

Survey Instrument Links or Contact:
Program Files:
Program Files Links or Contact:
External Link:
External Link Description:
The data analysis files will be posted on the authors' websites after publication of an academic article.
Description of Changes:

Study Stopped