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Empowering IDP with SMS: A Randomized Controlled Trial in Bogotá

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  • Mariana Blanco

    ()
    (Universidad del Rosario)

  • Juan F. Vargas

    ()
    (Universidad del Rosario)

Abstract

We carried out a randomized controlled trial in Bogotá, the recipient of Colombia's highest number of internally displaced people (IDP), to assess whether the use of SMS to communicate eligibility to social benefits fosters the welfare of victimized internal refugees. Only a fraction of IDP are eligible to benefits. We inform eligibility via SMS to a random half of such households, and estimate the Local Average Treatment Effect of the text message on the knowledge of the benefits available to the displaced population. We show that while on average treated households know their rights better than controls, a more disaggregated analysis suggests that there is variation of awareness across benefits. The intervention was overall successful in empowering IDP and the use of SMS should be widened as a social policy instrument. However or results suggest that text messages should be complemented with other communication strategies, yet to be evaluated.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Households in Conflict Network in its series HiCN Working Papers with number 84.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hic:wpaper:84

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  1. Daniel Mejía & Pascual Restrepo, 2008. "The War on Illegal Drug Production and Trafficking: An Economic Evaluation of Plan Colombia," HiCN Working Papers 53, Households in Conflict Network.
  2. Ibáñez, Ana María & Moya, Andrés, 2010. "Vulnerability of Victims of Civil Conflicts: Empirical Evidence for the Displaced Population in Colombia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 647-663, April.
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