Cash transfers and HIV/HSV-2 prevalence: a replication of a cluster randomized trial in Malawi

Cash transfers and HIV/HSV-2 prevalence: a replication of a cluster randomized trial in Malawi

3ie Replication paper 12

Lynette Smith, Nick Hein, Danstan Bagenda

In this paper, Lynette Smith, Nick Hein and Danstan Bagenda conduct a replication study of the influential 2012 publication, Effect of a cash transfer programme for schooling on prevalence of HIV and herpes simplex type 2 in Malawi: a cluster randomised trial by Sarah Baird and others. The pure replication reproduced the results of the original paper with just a few minor discrepancies.

The cash transfer program was effective in reducing the prevalence of HIV and HSV-2 in unmarried school-aged girls currently attending school in Malawi. There was no significant reduction of HIV or HSV-2 prevalence for school-aged girls who dropped out of school. Additionally, there were no significant differences in the type of intervention, conditional versus unconditional cash transfer for school-aged girls currently attending school, except in one outcome, whether the school-aged girl was currently pregnant.

The replication researchers conducted a number of robustness checks of the publication. In their theory of change analysis, they examined a potential causal pathway for the intervention in reducing HIV and HSV-2 prevalence. The results show that the intervention is affecting HIV and HSV-2 prevalence partially through school enrollment and selected sexual behaviors.

In addition, they generate wealth index and HIV awareness variables to determine if the intervention effect differed depending on wealth or on HIV awareness. They determine HIV awareness is not related to the intervention. They found that the unconditional cash transfer compared to control is highly effective in reducing HSV-2 and HIV prevalence when family wealth (e.g. the mother alive or father is alive) is low.

In the measurement and estimation analysis, the replication researchers find the robustness of the results to be more sensitive to the model choice for HIV, where there were few cases, but less so with HSV-2. The replication researchers conclude that additional research should be performed to confirm the effectiveness of cash transfer programs in reducing HIV and HSV-2 prevalence.

3ie Replication paper 18

Savings revisited: a replication study of a savings intervention in Malawi

Replication paper 3ie 2018

Jesper Stage and Tharshini Thangavelu replicate the results of a randomized evaluation carried out by Lasse Brune and colleagues in 2016 in Malawi.


Mobile money and its impact on improving living conditions in Niger: a replication study

Replication paper 3ie

Edmundo Beteta and colleagues replicate the results of a randomized evaluation carried out by Aker and colleagues in 2016 in Niger.

3ie Replication Paper 17

Thou shalt be given... but how? A replication study of a randomized experiment on food assistance in northern Ecuador

Replication paper 3ie 2018

Lhachimi and Seuring re-examine the results of a cluster-randomized evaluation carried out by Melissa Hidrobo and colleagues in 2013 in two provinces in northern Ecuador.


Preventing HIV and HSV-2 through improving knowledge and attitudes: a replication study of a multicomponent intervention in Zimbabwe

Replication paper 3ie 2018
Yu and colleagues conducted a replication study of an influential paper “The Regai Dzive Shiri Project: results of a randomised trial of an HIV prevention intervention for Zimbabwean youth” by Frances Cowan and colleagues.


When to start ART? A replication study of timing of antiretroviral therapy for HIV-1-associated Tuberculosis

Replication paper 3ie 2018
In this paper, the research team conducted a replication study of Havlir and others’ 2011 study, “Timing of antiretroviral therapy for HIV-1 infection and tuberculosis.”