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Motivating Migrants: A Field Experiment on Financial Decision-making in Transnational Households
Last registered on March 13, 2016

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Motivating Migrants: A Field Experiment on Financial Decision-making in Transnational Households
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0001049
Initial registration date
March 13, 2016
Last updated
March 13, 2016 4:35 AM EDT
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
University of Michigan
Additional Trial Information
Status
Completed
Start date
2010-08-01
End date
2012-04-01
Secondary IDs
Abstract
We randomly assigned male migrant workers in Qatar invitations to a motivational workshop aimed at improving financial habits and encouraging joint decision-making with spouses back home in India. 13–17 months later, we surveyed migrants and wives to estimate intent-to-treat impacts in their transnational households. Wives of treated migrants changed their financial practices and became more likely to seek out financial education themselves. Treated migrants and their wives became more likely to make joint decisions on money matters. Treatment effects on financial outcomes show potential heterogeneity, with those with lower prior savings saving differentially more than those with higher prior savings.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Seshan, Ganesh and Dean Yang. 2016. "Motivating Migrants: A Field Experiment on Financial Decision-making in Transnational Households." AEA RCT Registry. March 13. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.1049-1.0.
Former Citation
Seshan, Ganesh and Dean Yang. 2016. "Motivating Migrants: A Field Experiment on Financial Decision-making in Transnational Households." AEA RCT Registry. March 13. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/1049/history/7251.
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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
In contrast to programs typically studied in financial education research more generally, the intervention we study here is quite short in duration, at just a few hours in a single session. The intervention should therefore be thought of more accurately as a motivational workshop aimed at altering the financial habits of participants. The workshop was conducted in late November 2010, after the baseline surveys were completed. It was held on a Friday evening by Mr. K.V. Shamsudheen, who is originally from Kerala and heads the Pravasi Bandhu Welfare Trust, a UAE-based entity registered in Kerala, India. The workshop's central theme was the importance of setting in place a plan for savings accumulation that would allow migrants and their families to maintain higher living standards after the migrants returned home to Kerala. In support of that objective, the workshop covered topics such as creating and following a budget for both migrant and the household in India, making financial planning a consultative family exercise, setting aside money from remittances to save regularly, and the pros and cons of various investment options. The workshop was conducted in an interactive manner with substantial audience participation. The entire workshop lasted approximately 5 hours (3 hours for the workshop itself and 2 hours for the subsequent dinner). The workshop was held on a weekend night (Friday) to maximize take-up, in a conference room at a hotel chosen so that it was accessible by public transportation in a commercial area popular with South Asian migrants.
Intervention Start Date
2010-11-01
Intervention End Date
2010-11-02
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
- Self-reported financial practices of migrants
- Self-reported financial practices of migrants' wives
- Willingness for joint decision-making over financial matters
- Total household savings
- Total household remittances sent home
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
In a population of male migrant Indian workers in Qatar, we randomly assigned invitations to a motivational workshop aimed at improving their financial habits (with a particular focus on savings), and at fostering joint decision-making with their wives back home in India. A baseline survey took place between August and November 2010 with migrant interviews taking place in person, while interviews with wives were conducted over the phone. A total of 232 couples were interviewed at baseline. After the baseline surveys were completed, the survey firm was provided with a list of randomly selected migrant subjects to contact and invite to attend a financial strategies workshop held at the end of November 2010. The migrant subjects were encouraged to attend the workshop and told it was exclusively organized for them in appreciation of their participation in the baseline survey. Apart from the dinner provided, there was no compensation for attendance.

Outcome variables come from a follow-up post-treatment survey of migrants and wives, which occurred over a year after the baseline surveys, between December 2011 and April 2012. A total of 202 follow-up surveys were completed and we then dropped two cases where the migrant reported having divorced his wife prior to the follow-up survey. We survey both migrants and their spouses remaining behind in the home country; we therefore can examine behaviors of both parties as well as outcomes (such as total savings) for the transnational household as whole.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer,
Randomization Unit
Individual
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
232 married, male Indian migrant workers
Sample size: planned number of observations
232 married, male Indian migrant workers
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Treatment: 157 of the married, male migrant workers and their wives received an invitation to attend a financial literacy workshop;
Control: the remaining 75 migrant worker couples served as the comparison group.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Georgetown University IRB
IRB Approval Date
2009-11-13
IRB Approval Number
2009-514
Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
Yes
Intervention Completion Date
November 02, 2010, 12:00 AM +00:00
Is data collection complete?
Yes
Data Collection Completion Date
April 01, 2012, 12:00 AM +00:00
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
200 married, male Indian migrant workers
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
No
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
200 married, male Indian migrant workers
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
No
Program Files
Program Files
No
Reports and Papers
Preliminary Reports
Relevant Papers
Abstract
We randomly assigned male migrant workers in Qatar invitations to a motivational workshop aimed at improving financial habits and encouraging joint decision-making with spouses back home in India. 13–17 months later, we surveyed migrants and wives to estimate intent-to-treat impacts in their transnational households. Wives of treated migrants changed their financial practices and became more likely to seek out financial education themselves. Treated migrants and their wives became more likely to make joint decisions on money matters. Treatment effects on financial outcomes show potential heterogeneity, with those with lower prior savings saving differentially more than those with higher prior savings.
Citation
Seshan, Ganesh, and Dean Yang. 2014. "Motivating Migrants: A Field Experiment on Financial Decision-Making in Transnational Households." Journal of Development Economics 108: 119-127.