This project seeks to understand how facilitated financial planning, drawing on insights from behavioral economics, can shape the way unconditional cash transfers are spent and the extent to which male versus female preferences are reflected in final spending decisions. The study is a partnership with the Government of Liberia (GoL) Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, the World Bank, and the NGO GiveDirectly and is designed as a randomized evaluation including three arms: a control arm, a cash transfer only arm, and a cash transfer plus facilitated planning arm. The cash transfers are part of the GoL’s Social Cash Transfer program, implemented by GiveDirectly. Beneficiary households will receive a series of 6 cash transfers, each valued at roughly US$90-100 and paid through mobile money over a period of 12 months. In the facilitated planning arm, beneficiary households headed by married or cohabiting partners will additionally participate in a short planning session that creates a “planning contract”, which participants can keep and update as they achieve their goals. The contract is designed to provide both a reminder of spending goals and soft commitment to follow through on these goals. The targeted sample size includes 2500 households in 211 rural communities in Bomi and Maryland counties. The evaluation will analyze effects of the intervention on household expenditures, satisfaction with spending decisions, self-reported decision making power, intimate partner violence, and relationship conflict and satisfaction. In addition, further analysis will examine heterogenous effects with respect to baseline conflict and decision making to shed light on mechanisms and identify groups most impacted by cash and planning.
For more information: See the AEA Trial Registration.
Jessica Leight (IFPRI), Sarika Gupta (World Bank) and Simone Schaner (USC)
Government of Liberia’s Social Cash Transfer, implemented via GiveDirectly (Liberia)
Randomized controlled trial