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Can SMS Technology Improve Low Take-up of Social Benefits?

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  • Mariana Blanco

    ()

  • Juan Fernando Vargas

    ()

Abstract

Low take up of stigma-free social benefits is often blamed on information asymmetries or administrative barriers. There is limited evidence on which of these potential channels is more salient in which contexts. We designed and implemented a randomized controlled trial to assess the extent to which informational barriers are responsible for the prevalent low take-up of government benefits among Colombian conflict-driven internal refugees. We provide timely information on benefits eligibility responsible for the prevalent low take-up of government benefits among Colombian ity via SMS to a random half of the displaced household that migrated to Bogota over a 6-month period. We show that improving information increases benefi ts' take up. However, the e ffect is small and only true for certain type of bene fits. Hence, consistent with previous experimental literature, the availability of timely information explains only part of the low-take up rates and the role of administrative barriers and bureaucratic processes should be tackled to increase the well-being of internal refugees in Colombia.

Suggested Citation

  • Mariana Blanco & Juan Fernando Vargas, 2013. "Can SMS Technology Improve Low Take-up of Social Benefits?," DOCUMENTOS DE TRABAJO 011036, UNIVERSIDAD DEL ROSARIO.
  • Handle: RePEc:col:000092:011036
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    File URL: http://repository.urosario.edu.co/bitstream/handle/10336/10965/11036.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Juan F. Vargas, 2009. "Military Empowerment and Civilian Targeting in Civil War," HiCN Working Papers 56, Households in Conflict Network.
    2. Jennifer L. Warlick, 1982. "Participation of the Aged in SSI," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 17(2), pages 236-260.
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    4. Richard Dorsett & Christopher Heady, 1991. "The take-up of means-tested benefits by working families with children," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 12(4), pages 22-32, November.
    5. Janet Currie, 2004. "The Take Up of Social Benefits," NBER Working Papers 10488, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Edward Miguel & Michael Kremer, 2004. "Worms: Identifying Impacts on Education and Health in the Presence of Treatment Externalities," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(1), pages 159-217, January.
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    8. Moffitt, Robert, 1983. "An Economic Model of Welfare Stigma," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(5), pages 1023-1035, December.
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    10. Janet Currie, 2000. "Do Children of Immigrants Make Differential Use of Public Health Insurance?," NBER Chapters,in: Issues in the Economics of Immigration, pages 271-308 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    14. 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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    Cited by:

    1. repec:bpj:pepspp:v:23:y:2017:i:2:p:7:n:1 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Andrés Zambrano & Hernando Zuleta, 2016. "Revealing the preferences of the FARC," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 014572, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Information asymmetries; take-up rate; SMS; RCT;

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments

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