Examining the Impact of Business Digitization on Firm Performance and Access to Financial Services in Kenya

Last registered on January 03, 2023


Trial Information

General Information

Examining the Impact of Business Digitization on Firm Performance and Access to Financial Services in Kenya
Initial registration date
December 21, 2022

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
January 03, 2023, 5:02 PM EST

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.



Primary Investigator


Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
McCombs School of Business, UT Austin
PI Affiliation
Booth School of Business, University of Chicago
PI Affiliation
London School of Economics and Political Science

Additional Trial Information

On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
In this RCT, we investigate how firms create and manage wealth in emerging markets by leveraging digital tools and technologies in their businesses. In emerging markets, business digitization can be a key strategy for firms to increase wealth. We have partnered with one of the largest banks in East Africa, Equity Group Foundation, to measure the economic impact of an innovative digital skills training. In our randomized control trial (RCT) we investigate how access to and knowledge of digital tools and technology can impact both firm performance outcomes and access to financial services. While technology has great potential in creating and managing wealth, many small-scale entrepreneurs in developing countries lack hands-on knowledge of how to leverage them for growth. This lack of ‘digital capital’ can be a significant constraint to growth in today’s digitized society. Our research aims to shed light on this problem by examining the effectiveness of a novel digital skills intervention, which combines 1) practical in-class training of business digitization, and 2) in-depth follow-up technical assistance on digital tools. By building skills and confidence in these digital business practices, our intervention aims at improving firm outcomes of entrepreneurs as well as facilitate access to financial services such as loans.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Anderson, Stephen J. et al. 2023. "Examining the Impact of Business Digitization on Firm Performance and Access to Financial Services in Kenya." AEA RCT Registry. January 03. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.10429-1.0
Experimental Details


We will combine longitudinal field survey data of entrepreneurs with a randomized control trial. We will evaluate the effectiveness of offering a Business Digitization program to the treatment group compared against a control group (that receives no intervention during the study period). The Business Digitization program will contain the following elements:

• In-class training sessions of 30 hours: learning modules include business digitization, records management, e-payment, e-governance, e-marketing.
• One-on-one technical assistance: Expert technicians will regularly visit entrepreneurs on-site to implement digital technologies in the business (around 6 visits over 3 months).
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Access to Financial Services: primarily access to loans and amount of loans; and possibly also access to other financial products/services (e.g., savings accounts or mobile money products)
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Business Digitization: Index of digitization of business processes and practices

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
We also aim to explore the underlying mechanism that drives the above main effects, such as how business digitization (i.e., adopting new digital tools and technologies) helps firms to improve productivity/efficiency, to enhance reputation/legitimacy, and to increase trust.

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Baseline data collection: During the recruitment entrepreneurs’ and business details will be captured using a survey including sales and profit, business main product and services, customer profiles, level of business digitization and use of digital marketing.

Randomization: Participants will be randomly assigned to 1 out of 2 conditions: Digital literacy treatment condition vs. control condition

The treatment condition will undergo a digital literacy training (described under intervention above).
The control condition will not receive any training until the study ends (i.e., after all follow-up data have been collected).
The treatment period will be around 4 months. We will monitor the intervention using field surveys. Throughout the intervention period data will be collected on the entrepreneur’s compliance and skills gained.

Endline: A post intervention survey will be conducted after the 6 months of intervention assessing the various changes that have occurred at the business in using digital tools and technologies to create and manage wealth.

In addition to this survey data, we will attempt to gain access to "financial service" outcomes via administrative data, but this will also depend on our implementing partner. This will allow us to perform fine-grained analyses of banking data outcomes over time, including success and amount of loan applications.

We may also run short 'lab in the field' experiments to help bolster our mechanism evidence but this will be determined at a future point in time.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization completed with Stata,
stratified by trainer, business digitization level (high vs. low), and previous loan with EGF (yes, no)
Randomization Unit
Randomization at the firm/individual level
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
N=568 entrepreneurs
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Control: N=284 entrepreneurs
Treatment: N=284 entrepreneurs
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number


Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Is the intervention completed?
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials