Returns to Price Transparency: Evidence from Branchless Banking Agents in Indonesia

Last registered on July 10, 2023


Trial Information

General Information

Returns to Price Transparency: Evidence from Branchless Banking Agents in Indonesia
Initial registration date
July 03, 2023

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
July 10, 2023, 9:03 PM EDT

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



Primary Investigator

Universitat Pompeu Fabra

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Northwestern University and Bocconi University
PI Affiliation
World Bank
PI Affiliation
Australian National University
PI Affiliation
London School of Economics

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Despite the rapid expansion of branchless banking services across Indonesia over the past few years, there is an overarching concern that low client trust in digital financial services may be hampering demand and limiting financial inclusion. One of the main sources of mistrust in digital financial services is related to the lack of price transparency and the high prevalence of informal fees and illicit extra charges by agents to customers. To shed light on this issue, we partnered with one of Indonesia’s largest banks to (i) measure the consumer demand for price transparency and the extent of financial agent misconduct, and to (ii) estimate the market returns to price transparency. In our experiment, we will study the causal effect of providing clients with information about the bank’s official prices on take-up and usage of products, client perceptions, and agent responses following the diffusion of information about prices.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Deserranno, Erika et al. 2023. "Returns to Price Transparency: Evidence from Branchless Banking Agents in Indonesia." AEA RCT Registry. July 10.
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Experimental Details


The first part of the project aims at documenting the prevalence of informal fees and price discrimination in the market, as well as customer preferences for price transparency vis-à-vis other characteristics of the quality of services provided by the agent. To do this, we will conduct an on-line baseline survey with the agents’ customers.
Following the baseline survey, we will conduct an intervention in which the bank enforces price transparency by directly providing a random group of clients (stratified by agent) with the official prices for the main transaction services offered by branchless banking agents.
Approximately one month after the distribution of messages about the bank’s official prices, we will conduct an on-line endline survey to clients to learn about their perceptions and whether agents change their sales and price-setting strategy in response to the diffusion of information about the prices.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
In our experiment, we will study the effects of distributing information about product prices on (i) take-up and usage of products, (ii) client perceptions, and (iii) agent responses.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
1. Take-up and usage of products: The bank’s administrative data at the agent level allows us to measure the take-up of the products offered by the banks and different measures of usage of these products. Additionally, we will be able to measure the effects of the treatment on the balance held by the agent in her account, a proxy for the liquidity she has to provide clients with cash when needed.
2. Client perceptions: Through our surveys with clients, we will also capture clients’ perceptions about the agent (trust), and whether they have made transactions with other agents.
3. Agent responses: We will use surveys with clients to measure agents’ actions following the transparency treatment. These include: whether they publicly display the official price list, the actual prices they charge for the services and the dispersion of prices between clients (a measure of price discrimination), and other (complementary) marketing strategies they may be using.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
This transparency experiment is designed to estimate the effects of price transparency on customer behaviour, as well as the market returns to price transparency. For this, we will work with a random sample of agents working with our bank partner. Randomly selected clients of these agents will receive a WhatsApp message from the bank summarizing the official prices for the most common types of branchless banking transactions. The clients of the remaining agents will receive a placebo message that makes no mention of the bank’s official prices. Making use of the bank’s administrative data, we will be able to document the causal effects of price transparency on relevant outcome variables, such as take-up and usage of the products offered by agents. We will also be able to observe outcomes at the agent level, such as the balance in her account. We will complement these administrative data with information obtained from surveys with clients in which we will collect detailed information on the agent’s behaviour (transparency, sales strategies, etc.) and clients’ trust on the agent. This experiment will establish the extent to which branchless banking clients can use the information on actual prices for transactions to hold their agents accountable and, as a consequence, are more (or less) likely to use branchless banking products.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization will be done through STATA.
Randomization Unit
Branchless banking agent.
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
500 branchless banking agents.
Sample size: planned number of observations
10,000 clients (20 randomly selected clients per each of 500 agents), with an expected response rate of 20%.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Control group: 250 agents (X 20 clients per agent)
Transparency treatment group: 250 agents (X 20 clients per agent)
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
To ensure the soundness of our experimental design, we have conducted a series of power calculations to identify the Minimum Detectable Effect sizes for the experiment. The calculations are made under the assumptions that: 1) there is one treatment group, 2) there is control group, 3) there is the same number of clients in each group, 4) size is set at 5% and power is set 80%. The sample size of the experiment will depend on the number of clients responding to the survey. Although the response rate is expected to be around 20%, even in a scenario with a 17.5% response rate a small effect of 0.09 standard deviations would be detected.

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
The Research Ethics Committee (REC), London School of Economics
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number