• Can Skills Training Programs Increase Employment for Young Women? The Case of Liberia.

    World Bank (2012)

    Original Abstract:

    The Economic Empowerment of Adolescent Girls and Young Women (EPAG) project in Liberia consists of six-months of classroom training followed by six-months of placement and support (including micro-enterprise advisory services and internship and job placement assistance). Participants are trained in business development skills, job skills, and life skills, and the program includes a capacity-building component for local partners. The aim is to smooth the transition from the classroom to wage or self-employment. According to midline results from 2012, the program led to a 50% increase in employment among trainees, increased average weekly income by 115%, and significantly increased girls' savings.

    Intervention settings: Mixed.

    Intervention description: Vocational, business development, and life skills classroom and on-the-job training.

    Methodology: RCT.

    Sample: Women 16-27 years old with basic literacy and numeracy skills, currently not in school.

    Findings: Employment increased by 50%. Incomes increased by 115%.

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  • Intentions to Participate in Adolescent Training Programs: Evidence from Uganda

    Bandiera et al (2010)

    Original Abstract:

    Almost one-third of the population in developing countries is under age 15. Hence improving the effectiveness of policy interventions that target adolescents might be especially important. We analyze the intention to participate in training programs of adolescent girls in Uganda, a country with perhaps the most skewed age distribution anywhere in the world. The training program we focus on is BRAC's Adolescent Development Program, which emphasizes the provision of life skills, entrepreneurship training, and microfinance. We find that girls who are more likely to benefit from the program are more likely to intend to participate. The program attracts girls who are likely to place a high value on financial independence: single mothers and girls who are alienated from their families. The program attracts girls who are more likely to benefit from training: girls who believe they could be successful entrepreneurs but currently lack the quantitative skills to do so. Reassuringly, girls who are in school full-time are less likely to intend to participate. We also find that the program attracts girls from poorer villages but we find no evidence that poorer girls within each village are more likely to want to participate. Finally, girls from villages who have previously been exposed to NGO projects are less likely to intend to participate.

    Intervention settings: Mixed.

    Intervention description: Group-based unconditional cash transfer.

    Methodology: RCT.

    Sample: Men and women 16-35 years old.

    Findings: 80% of beneficiaries use grants for vocational training and business asset purchases. Employment increases by 50% for women and 25% for men. Income increases by 50%.

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  • Tap and Reposition Youth (TRY): Providing Social Support, Savings, and Microcredit Opportunities for Young Women in Areas with High HIV Prevalence

    Erulkar et al (2006)

    Original Abstract:

    The document reports on the Tap and Reposition Youth (TRY) project in Nairobi, Kenya. The project aimed to reduce the vulnerability of out of school adolescent girls and young women, aged 16-22, to HIV infection and other illnesses by improving their livelihood options through microfinance interventions. The document includes a description of the project, an overview of microfinance in Africa, a discussion of the limits of the project's initial microcredit model, an analysis of the project's impact, and recommendations for the way forward.

    Intervention settings: Rural.

    Intervention description: Microfinance.

    Methodology: RCT.

    Sample: Women 16-22 years old, who are out-of-school and live in low-income and slum areas of Nairobi

    Findings: Low repayment and high program dropout.

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  • Vocational Education Voucher Delivery and Labor Market Returns: A Randomized Evaluation Among Kenyan Youth

    Hicks et al (2011)

    Original Abstract:

    This report describes the ongoing Technical and Vocational Vouchers Program (TVVP) in Kenya and provides early results from the intervention. Implementation began in 2008 with the recruitment of approximately 2,160 out-of-school youths (ranging in age from roughly 18 to 30). Study participants were drawn from the Kenya Life Panel Survey, an unusual on-going panel dataset of detailed educational, health, and cognitive information for over 7,000 adolescents in western Kenya. Of the 2,160 youths that applied to the TVVP, a random half were awarded a voucher for vocational training, while the other half served as the control group. Of the voucher winners, a random half were awarded a voucher that could only be used in public (government) institutions, while the other half received a voucher that could be used in either private or public institutions. The project also included a cross-cutting information intervention, which exposed a randomly selected half of all treatment and control individuals to information about the actual returns to vocational education. This report focuses on program take-up, the demand for vocational training and the impacts of the information intervention on institution and course selection, participant attendance, the short-term impacts of training on labor market expectations and outcomes for a representative subset of program participants, and training center characteristics. The report also provides some suggestive evidence on the supply-side impacts of the program.

    Intervention settings: Mixed.

    Intervention description: Awarded voucher for either public (government) institution or private institution. Half of the group was also expsed to information about actual returns to vocational education.

    Methodology: RCT.

    Sample: 2,160 men and women aged 18-30 (63% women) who were out of school.

    Findings: Influenced more women to enroll in traditionally male-dominated (and higher-paying) courses of study.

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  • Cash or Condition? Evidence from a Cash Transfer Experiment

    Baird, McIntosh and _zler (2011)

    Original Abstract:

    This paper assesses the role of conditionality in cash transfer programs using a unique experiment targeted at adolescent girls in Malawi. The program featured two distinct interventions: unconditional transfers (UCT arm) and transfers conditional on school attendance (CCT arm). While there was a modest decline in the dropout rate in the UCT arm in comparison to the control group, it was only 43% as large as the impact in the CCT arm at the end of the two-year program. The CCT arm also outperformed the UCT arm in tests of English reading comprehension. However, teenage pregnancy and marriage rates were substantially lower in the UCT than the CCT arm, entirely due to the impact of UCTs on these outcomes among girls who dropped out of school.

    Intervention settings: Rural (mostly): Zomba district

    Intervention description: Cash transfers varied randomly (at level of enumerator area) between $4, $6, $8 and $10 per month to parents and between $1, $2, $3, $4 and $5 to student beneficiaries. In addition, CCT recipients' secondary school fees were paid. For conditional treatment arms, payment was made if attendance the previous month was at least 80% of school days. Unconditional arm had identical offer except payment was not conditional on attending school, and payments were adjusted upward to match the amount of school fees plus cash transfer that CCT arm received.

    Methodology: RCT

    Sample: 2,907 school girls in 176 enumeration areas.

    Findings: Decrease in the drop-out rate in the UCT group only 43% as large as that in the CCT group.

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  • Does ICT Benefit the Poor? Evidence from South Africa.

    Klonner and Nolen (2008)

    Original Abstract:

    We study the economic effects of the roll-out of mobile phone network coverage in rural South Africa. We address identification issues which arise from the fact that network roll-out cannot be viewed as an exogenous process to local economic development. We combine spatially coded data from South Africa's leading network provider with annual labor force surveys. We use terrain properties to construct an instrumental variable that allows us to identify the causal effect of network coverage on economic outcomes under plausible assumptions. We found substantial effects of cell phone network roll-out on labor market outcomes with remarkable gender-specific differences. Employment increases by 15 percentage points when a locality receives network coverage. A gender-differentiated analysis shows that most of this effect is due to increased employment by women. Household income increases in a pro-poor way when cellular infrastructure is provided.

    Intervention settings: Rural

    Intervention description: Extension of mobile phone network.

    Methodology: Instrumental variable estimation.

    Sample: Data from two nationally representative household surveys.

    Findings: Employment increases by 15 percentage points, with most of the effect concentrated in females. Positive effect on household income among households with no children. No effect on average household income or moderate poverty. Reduces severe poverty.

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  • Are Poor Slum-dwellers Willing to Pay for Formal Land Title? Evidence from Dar es Salaam

    Ali et al (2012)

    Intervention settings:

    Intervention description: Land titling.

    Methodology: RCT

    Sample: 1,059 households (22% women-headed).

    Findings: Dissemination activities had positive impact on listing of female co-owners. Demand for a Certificate Right of Occupancy among urban slum dwellers was high relative to income and to cost of other options.

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  • Empowering Adolescent Girls: Evidence from a Randomized Control Trial in Uganda

    Bandiera et al (2012)

    Original Abstract:

    Nearly 60% of Uganda's population is aged below 20. This generation faces health challenges associated with HIV, coupled with economic challenges arising from an uncertain transition into the labor market. We evaluate the impacts of a programme designed to em- power adolescent girls against both challenges through the simultaneous provision of: (i) life skills to build knowledge and reduce risky behaviors; (ii) vocational training enabling girls to establish small-scale enterprises. The randomized control trial tracks 4,800 girls over two years. The programme significantly improves HIV and pregnancy related knowledge, as well as corresponding risky behaviors: among those sexually active, self-reported routine condom usage increases by 50%. Furthermore, from a baseline of 21%, there is the near elimination of girls reporting having recently had sex unwillingly. On outcomes related to vocational training, the intervention raised the likelihood of girls being engaged in income generating activities by 35%, mainly driven by increased participation in self-employment. The findings suggest combined interventions might be more effective among adolescent girls than single-pronged interventions aiming to change risky behaviors solely through related education programmes, or to improve labor market outcomes solely through vocational training.

    Intervention settings: Rural and Peri-urban

    Intervention description: Livelihood (vocational) and life skills training over first two years of the program.

    Methodology: RCT

    Sample: 4,800 young women (aged 14-20).

    Findings: 35% increase in likelihood to be engaged in an income generating activity. 76% increase in likelihood to be self-employed. 46% increase in hours spent in self-employment on a typical day. 17% decrease in likelihood to be in wage-labor (imprecisely estimated). 31% decrease in hours spent in wage-labor on a typical day (imprecisely estimated). Personal monthly expenditure on goods specific to young females higher by 33%. Income from self-employment higher, wage labor lower.

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  • Mobile Banking: The Impact of M-Pesa in Kenya

    Mbiti and Weil (2011)

    Original Abstract:

    M-Pesa is a mobile phone based money transfer system in Kenya which grew at a blistering pace following its inception in 2007. We examine how M-Pesa is used as well as its economic impacts. Analyzing data from two waves of individual data on financial access in Kenya, we find that increased use of M-Pesa lowers the propensity of people to use informal savings mechanisms such as ROSCAS, but raises the probability of their being banked. Using aggregate data, we calculate the velocity of M-Pesa at between 11.0 and 14.6 person-to-person transfers per month. In addition, we find that M-Pesa causes decreases in the prices of competing money transfer services such as Western Union. While we find little evidence that people use their M-Pesa accounts as a place to store wealth, our results suggest that M-Pesa improves individual outcomes by promoting banking and increasing transfers.

    Intervention settings: National.

    Intervention description: Availability of mobile moves service.

    Methodology: Fixed and random effects estimation using panel data.

    Sample: Aggregated household data from two nationally representative surveys conducted in 190 sublocations (i.e., clusters of 2-3 villages).

    Findings: The primary use of M-Pesa is the purchase of airtime - 42 percent of users. Contradictory to findings by Jack and Suri (2011) they find that only 26 percent of M-Pesa users report using the service for savings. Very small percentages of users report using M-Pesa for direct purchasing, paying bills or receiving salaries or wages. M-Pesa users are more likely to be male, wealthier, better educated, banked in the formal sector, employed in non-farm sectors and reside in urban areas. 35% of banked individuals use M-Pesa to save, compared to only 19% of the unbanked that use it as a savings tool. Wealthy individuals also more frequently use M-Pesa as a savings tool - 30% - as compared to poor individuals at 15%. Men use M-Pesa 35% more frequently than women. 35% of respondents indicated that they had increased the frequency of sending transfers and 18% indicating that they had decreased the frequency. Approximately 35% of M-Pesa users indicated that they had sent higher amounts in the transfers they had made and almost 20% stated they had decreased the amount. Positive relationship between M-Pesa adoption and the frequency of sending transfers. M-Pesa adoption increased the frequency of sending remittances by 2.

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  • Environmental and Gender Impacts of Land Tenure Regularization in Africa: Pilot Evidence from Rwanda

    Ali, Deininger and Goldstein (2011)

    Original Abstract:

    Although increased global demand for land has led to renewed interest in African land tenure, few models to address these issues quickly and at the required scale have been identified or evaluated. The case of Rwanda's nation- wide and relatively low-cost land tenure regularization program is thus of great interest. This paper evaluates the short-term impact (some 2.5 years after completion) of the pilots undertaken to fine-tune the approach using a geographic discontinuity design with spatial fixed effects. Three key findings emerge from the analysis. First, the program improved land access for legally married women (about 76 percent of married couples) and prompted better recordation of inheritance rights without gender bias. Second, the analysis finds a very large impact on investment and maintenance of soil conservation measures. This effect was particularly pronounced for female headed households, suggesting that this group had suffered from high levels of tenure insecurity, which the program managed to reduce. Third, land market activity declined, allowing rejection of the hypothesis that the program caused a wave of distress sales or widespread landlessness by vulnerable people. Implications for program design and policy are discussed.

    Intervention settings: Rural (3 locations) and peri-urban (1 location).

    Intervention description: Land titling pilot covering 14,908 parcels with 3,448 hectares.

    Methodology: Regression discontinuity design with spatial fixed effects.

    Sample: 3,513 households (22% female-headed) drawn from both sides of the boundaries of four pilot cells.

    Findings: The program improved land access for legally married women (about 76% of married couples) and prompted better recordation of inheritance rights without gender bias. The analysis finds a large impact on investment and maintenance of soil conservation measures. This effect was particularly pronounced for female headed households, suggesting that this group had suffered from high levels of tenure insecurity, which the program managed to reduce. Land market activity declined, allowing rejection of the hypothesis that the program caused a wave of distress sales or widespread landlessness by vulnerable people. No effect on the perceived risk of expropriation.

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