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Empowering IDP with SMS: a randomized controlled trial in Bogotá

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  • Mariana Blanco

    ()

  • Juan F. Vargas

    ()

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 elegible to benefits. We inform eligibility via SMS to a random half of IDP-households who are, and estimate the Local Average Treatment Effect of the text message on the knowledge of the benefits available tothe displaced population. We show that while on the average treated households know their rights better than controls, a more disaggregate analysis suggest 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 our results suggest that text messages should be complemented with other communication strategies, yet to be evaluated.

Suggested Citation

  • Mariana Blanco & Juan F. Vargas, 2010. "Empowering IDP with SMS: a randomized controlled trial in Bogotá," DOCUMENTOS DE TRABAJO 007306, UNIVERSIDAD DEL ROSARIO.
  • Handle: RePEc:col:000092:007306
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    1. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Esther Duflo, 2009. "The Experimental Approach to Development Economics," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 151-178, May.
    2. 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.
    3. 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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    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments

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