This project piloted a call center to enhance the ability to measure the impacts of a randomized controlled trial on cash transfers and food security in Bihar, India. The Bihar Cash Transfer project (implemented through the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL)) is implementing and testing the impact of replacing in-kind food transfers via the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) with cash transfers in Bihar. The call center provides a mechanism to capture in real-time the impacts of competition (between the status quo benefit delivery mechanism and the cash alternative), communicate key program information to beneficiaries (e.g. food stamp prices, reminder calls about date of account opening, biometrics, and account card distribution) and to coach thousands of beneficiaries through the process of opening bank accounts – for most, their first formal bank accounts. The project also intended to use this call center to monitor beneficiary grievances over the course of the project, and the team took into account these types of calls received in the proof-of-concept phase to refine program design, communication materials, and other monitoring instruments.
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