Two-sided Subsidies to Support Biofortified Crop Adoption in Guatemala

Last registered on March 18, 2024


Trial Information

General Information

Two-sided Subsidies to Support Biofortified Crop Adoption in Guatemala
Initial registration date
March 04, 2024

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
March 15, 2024, 2:48 PM EDT

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

Last updated
March 18, 2024, 9:52 AM EDT

Last updated is the most recent time when changes to the trial's registration were published.



Primary Investigator

University of Chicago

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Paris School of Economics
PI Affiliation
Paris 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.
As new climate-smart farming technologies become available, it will be necessary to learn which market mechanisms are effective at increasing access for rural farmers. If higher quality seeds are under-adopted due to information, behavioral, and/or financial frictions, it justifies subsidizing their distribution. This research considers two ways to subsidize seed dissemination - using demand-side subsidies to encourage farmers to try improved seeds and supply-side subsidies for agrodealers to promote and stock improved seeds. Subsidizing agrodealers is a potentially appealing and scalable policy option because they face market incentives. We study the effect of subsidizing both sides of the market to learn how subsidies affect uptake among inexperienced and experienced hybrid seed farmers.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Macours, Karen, Paola Mallia and Jessica Rudder. 2024. "Two-sided Subsidies to Support Biofortified Crop Adoption in Guatemala." AEA RCT Registry. March 18.
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Experimental Details


Our partner organization works with a network of agricultural input sellers to sell climate-resilient, biofortified seeds. Expanding the biofortified agrodealer network provides an opportunity to study how to structure seed subsidies so that they are willing to stock and promote climate-resilient, biofortified seeds. Most agrodealers are small businesses with few employees. It can be risky for them to stock new seed varieties when they are not familiar with how seeds perform in their local market. In Guatemala, many farmers grow landrace varieties of maize. However, even among landrace growers, it is common to purchase fertilizer and/or herbicides each year. Agrodealers provide a touchpoint to expand adoption on the intensive margin (farmers who switch hybrid varieties) and extensive margin (increasing first-time hybrid adoption).

We will implement a listing procedure to identify 3-4 communities near agrodealers, targeting communities with growers who typically plant non-hybrid varieties. We will randomly assign communities to one of three treatment arms, 1. listing only (control), 2. seed information session, 3. information session plus coupon distribution. The information session will be led by our partner organization and will train farmers on hybrid seed planting and describe the nutrition benefits of biofortified varieties. The information session plus coupon group will receive a coupon with random discount levels to encourage adoption. To incentivize input sellers to promote biofortified seeds to new farmers, we will randomly offer half of the agrodealers a subsidy for each client that buys biofortified seed.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Farmers: coupon redemption (take-up), quantity of seed purchased, complementary input use, agricultural productivity (yields, profits), consumption of bio-fortified maize.
Agrodealers: biofortified seed sales (number of farmers, total volume)
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Sources of heterogeneity: Farmer type (hybrid grower, non-hybrid grower), socio-economic strata, indigenous versus non-indigenous; farmers with small children and pregnant mothers, past climate related losses (wind and/or drought), willingness-to-pay
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
For the 2024 pilot, we start with a list of 70 agrodealers with ties to our partner organization. We select a subset of agrodealers that meet the following criteria: only one establishment per owner, primarily sells to end consumers, balanced across regions. From a final list of 14, we randomly assign 7 to control, and 7 to the treatment group who receive an extra subsidy for sales of biofortified seeds. We run a listing procedure to identify 4 communities per agrodealer that meet the following criteria: primarily agricultural communities, presence of farmers that grow non-hybrid seeds, willing to participate, and reasonable distance to agrodealer location. We randomly assign 1/3 of communities to each treatment arm (control, information session, and information session plus coupon distribution). Community leaders help invite 20 farmers per community. Farmers located in communities drawn for coupon distribution will receive a scrach-off coupon that will reveal a discount level that varies between 26-77%.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Agrodealers and community assignment - in an office by computer. Farmer coupons randomization will be scratch-off coupons distributed publicly.
Randomization Unit
Two levels of clusters - agrodealers and villages and one level of individual randomization (farmer-level for communities selected for coupon distribution).
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
pilot: 14 agrodealers, 42 communities.
Sample size: planned number of observations
840 farmers.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
7 agrodealers control, 7 agrodealers bonus incentive, 14 communities (280 farmers) control, 14 communities (280 farmers) information session, and 14 communities information plus coupons (280 farmers).
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Paris School of Economics
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number