Experimental evaluations

Youth training programs beyond employment. Evidence from a randomized controlled trial

Youth unemployment is a pervasive phenomenon in Latin America and the Caribbean. Governments have widely used training programs in order to mitigate such problem. This paper documents the effects of a training program for low income youths, which comprises vocational training, life skills and work experience. Results show large gains in employment, with effects that remain 18 months after the intervention. The program shows also substantial effects on access to credit. Program participants exhibit a higher probability of having requested formal consumer credit, and a higher probability of having bank debts in good standing.

Evaluating the Impact of Community led Total Sanitation Programs in Mali

The objective of the intervention is to reduce the incidence of diseases related to poor sanitation and manage public risks posed by the failure to safely confine the excreta of some community members. The way to achieve this objective is by empowering communities motivated to take collective action. Local governments and other agencies perform at best a facilitating role. There is a growing recognition that this approach, referred to as Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS), may help with the reduction of open defecation practices. However, no rigorous impact evaluation of CLTS has been conducted so far. This study presents the results of the baseline analysis of a randomized controlled trial for studying the effect of CLTS in rural Mali. 

Social Incentives in Contributions: Field Experiment Evidence from the 2012 U.S. Presidential Campaigns

This paper exploits the unique institutional setting of U.S. campaign finance to provide new evidence on social incentives in political participation. We conducted a field experiment in which letters with individualized information about campaign contributions were sent to 91,998 contributors in the 2012 U.S. presidential election. The effect of those letters on recipients’ subsequent contributions are examined using administrative data. We find that exogenously making an individual’s contributions more visible to her neighbors significantly increased her subsequent contributions if the majority of her neighbors support her same party, but decreased her contribution if the majority of her neighbors support the opposite party. These finding evidence that individuals give preferential treatment to neighbors of the same party. In another treatment arm, we randomized the information observed by recipients about neighbors’ contribution behavior. Consistent with existing evidence on social norms, individuals contribute more when neighbors of the same party contribute higher average amounts. Furthermore, we find that the individuals also care about the total amounts raised by the same and opposite parties. These findings result in implications for fundraising strategies, the design of optimal disclosure policies and the understanding of geographic polarization.

Biased perceptions of income distribution and preferences for redistribution: Evidence from a survey experiment

Individual perceptions of income distribution play a vital role in political economy and public finance models, yet there is little evidence regarding their origins or accuracy. This study examines how individuals form these perceptions and explores their potential impact on preferences for redistribution. A tailored household survey provides original evidence on systematic biases in individuals' evaluations of their own relative position in the income distribution. The study discusses one of the mechanisms that may generate such biases, based on the extrapolation of information from endogenous reference groups, and presents some suggestive evidence that this mechanism has significant explanatory power. The impact of these biased perceptions on attitudes toward redistributive policies is studied by means of an experimental design that was incorporated into the survey, which provided consistent information on the own-ranking within the income distribution to a randomly selected group of respondents. The evidence suggests that those who had overestimated their relative position and thought that they were relatively richer than they were tend to demand higher levels of redistribution when informed of their true ranking.

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Tenth Meeting

Impact Evaluation Network
Washington, D.C., USA
Call for Papers

March 22nd to 24th, 2017


Training on Impact Evaluation of Public Policies - Intermediate Level

Instructor(s): María Laura Alzúa, Guillermo Cruces, Santiago Garganta and Marcelo Bérgolo
La Plata, Argentina
October 17-21, 2016

Basic Training on Impact Evaluation of Public Policies

Instructor(s): María Laura Alzúa, Leonardo Gasparini, Martín Cicowiez
La Plata, Argentina
April 18-22, 2016

Impact Evaluation at Masters in Economics at Universidad Nacional de La Plata

Instructor(s): Maria Laura Alzua
La Plata, Argentina
Since 2009

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