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Does a woman’s take-up of government benefits vary with her perception of how they will be shared within the household? Using randomized assignment to alternative information treatments, we examine this question in the context of Saudi women’s willingness to apply for unemployment assistance (Hafiz). We compare the take-up among women who receive no program information to three groups: those who receive information on program eligibility conditions (Eligibility group) and those who receive additional information that their registration status is broadly confidential (Privacy group) or that they fully control registering and accessing benefits (Agency group). Three months later, the treatments, on average, doubled Hafiz applications, with the treatment impacts largest for the Agency group. Women from poorer households and married women are most responsive to the Agency and Privacy interventions respectively. These findings are consistent with collective household bargaining models where family members’ spending preferences differ; we predict larger treatment impacts when there is more competition for resources.


Al-Karablieh, Yazan, Rema Hanna, and Rohini Pande. "Who benefits? Experimental evidence on Saudi women’s take-up of unemployment assistance." Economics Letters (April 6, 2024).