Financial Literacy and Aspirations: Experimental Evidence from Uganda

Last registered on May 21, 2024


Trial Information

General Information

Financial Literacy and Aspirations: Experimental Evidence from Uganda
Initial registration date
May 15, 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
May 21, 2024, 11:08 AM EDT

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



Primary Investigator

University of San Francisco

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
University of San Francisco
PI Affiliation
University of San Francisco

Additional Trial Information

Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
In Uganda, where financial challenges disproportionately affect women, our study aims to make a difference by enhancing financial literacy and entrepreneurial aspirations through innovative methods. We are conducting a randomized controlled trial to evaluate the impact of two specific interventions: a mobile game designed to improve financial knowledge and decision-making, and an inspirational documentary aimed at boosting the entrepreneurial drive among women participating in the FINCA community bank program. This study explores whether these interactive and engaging tools can help women become more financially independent and successful in their business ventures. By examining the effects of these interventions alone and together, we hope to understand better how learning and motivation can lead to economic empowerment. The findings from this research will contribute to the ongoing efforts by the Ugandan government and various stakeholders, including the Central Bank of Uganda and international organizations, to promote financial inclusion and empowerment among women.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Agasha, Ester, Wydick Bruce and Andrew Hobbs. 2024. "Financial Literacy and Aspirations: Experimental Evidence from Uganda ." AEA RCT Registry. May 21.
Sponsors & Partners



Experimental Details


Our intervention consists of two main components designed to enhance financial literacy and elevate entrepreneurial aspirations among Ugandan microentrepreneurs, focusing particularly on women. The first component is a mobile phone-based financial literacy application called "Farm Finance," which utilizes gamification techniques to teach essential financial principles. This app aims to make learning about finance engaging and interactive, encouraging participants to apply what they learn in real-world scenarios effectively.

The second component is an aspirations documentary that showcases successful local women entrepreneurs. This documentary is intended to inspire and motivate participants by presenting relatable role models and success stories. The combination of these interventions is based on the theory that improved financial literacy, coupled with elevated aspirations, leads to better financial decision-making, increased business revenues, and empowerment.

Each intervention has been carefully designed with a deep understanding of the local context to ensure cultural sensitivity and relevance. We obtain prior consent from all participants, ensuring confidentiality and their right to withdraw at any stage. Additionally, we closely monitor the intervention's impact to address any unintended negative consequences, adhering to high ethical standards throughout the study​
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Financial Literacy Improvement:

Measurement: Overall enhancement in participants' financial literacy, assessed via comprehensive financial literacy tests conducted before and after the interventions. These tests gauge the ability to make informed financial decisions and apply key financial concepts in real-life situations.
Specific Indicators: Progress is monitored through periodic quizzes during the intervention, assessing knowledge acquisition in areas such as budgeting, investing, and risk management.
Entrepreneurial Aspirational Fulfillment:

Measurement: Evaluation of the achievement of entrepreneurial goals set during the aspirations documentary phase and any subsequent adjustments in aspirations.
Specific Indicators: Follow-up interviews and surveys are used to assess whether participants have realized their set goals and established new, higher aspirations.
Economic Impact:

Measurement: Examination of changes in borrowing capacity, enterprise revenues, and profitability attributable to enhanced financial literacy and elevated aspirations.
Specific Indicators: Financial records review and participant self-reports at the end of the intervention period, with additional follow-ups at six and twelve months to gauge sustained economic impacts.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Women Empowerment is a multi-dimensional construct in this study, encapsulating financial independence, decision-making autonomy, and self-perceived empowerment. The construction of this outcome involves several layers of data derived from various main variables:

Financial Independence:

Variables Included: Income levels, savings behavior, access to and use of financial services (e.g., bank accounts, loans).
Construction Method: We aggregate these variables to create an index of financial independence, scoring participants based on improvements in income and savings, as well as increased usage of financial services post-intervention.
Decision-Making Autonomy:

Variables Included: Decision-making within the household, particularly in financial matters such as expenditures, investments, and education of children.
Construction Method: Through surveys, we measure changes in the participant's role in making financial decisions at home. Responses are quantified into an autonomy score, reflecting shifts from baseline to endline.
Self-Perceived Empowerment:

Variables Included: Self-assessment measures of confidence, perceived control over personal and financial life, and overall satisfaction with economic and household status.
Construction Method: Participants rate their perceptions on a Likert scale. These ratings are then used to derive an empowerment score, which captures the subjective dimension of empowerment and complements the more objective measures listed above.
Composite Empowerment Score:

Final Construction: We combine the scores from financial independence, decision-making autonomy, and self-perceived empowerment into a composite empowerment score. This score is calculated by standardizing and weighting each component based on its perceived impact on overall empowerment, as determined by preliminary research and expert consultation.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Our study utilizes a randomized controlled trial (RCT) design to rigorously assess the impact of two distinct interventions aimed at improving financial literacy and elevating entrepreneurial aspirations among women in Uganda. The experimental design is structured to provide a clear, unbiased evaluation of the interventions’ effectiveness across several dimensions of women's empowerment.

Participants are randomly assigned to one of four groups to ensure that any differences in outcomes can be attributed to the interventions rather than pre-existing differences among participants:

Treatment Group 1: Receives the mobile-based "Farm Finance" financial literacy game.
Treatment Group 2: Watches an inspirational documentary designed to elevate entrepreneurial aspirations.
Treatment Group 3: Receives both the "Farm Finance" game and the aspirations documentary.
Control Group: Receives no intervention during the study period but is provided access to the interventions after the study's conclusion, ensuring ethical fairness.
While it is not feasible to blind participants to the type of intervention they receive (due to the nature of the interventions), data analysts and outcome assessors are blinded to the group assignments to prevent bias in data interpretation and outcome assessment.

Data Collection:
Data are collected at three critical points: baseline (prior to intervention), immediately post-intervention, and follow-up (six months after the intervention). This allows us to assess both the immediate and the longer-term impacts of the interventions. The data collection includes quantitative measures from surveys and qualitative data from focus groups and interviews.

Outcome Measurement:
Primary outcomes include improvements in financial literacy, changes in entrepreneurial aspirations, and overall economic empowerment, measured through a combination of direct testing, self-reported surveys, and behavioral observations. Secondary outcomes assess broader socio-economic impacts and participant satisfaction with the intervention.

Ethical Considerations:
The study adheres to high ethical standards, with all procedures approved by relevant institutional review boards. Participants are informed about the study's purpose, their rights as participants, and are free to withdraw at any time without any consequences.

This design ensures a rigorous evaluation of the interventions, providing credible, valuable insights into their effectiveness in enhancing financial literacy and aspirations among women in Uganda. The results are expected to inform future policies and programs aimed at women's economic empowerment in similar contexts.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
In our study, randomization is conducted using a computer-generated sequence to assign participants to one of the four groups. This method ensures that the allocation process is both random and unbiased, crucial for maintaining the integrity of a randomized controlled trial (RCT).

Details of the Randomization Process:

Sequence Generation: A random number generator software is utilized to create the allocation sequence. This software is programmed to ensure equal probability of assignment across all intervention and control groups.
Implementation: The randomization sequence is generated by a researcher who does not have direct contact with participants to minimize any potential bias. Once generated, the sequence is used to assign participants based on a unique identifier assigned to them at the time of their enrollment in the study.
Blinding: To further ensure the objectivity of the trial, those involved in data collection and analysis are blinded to which group participants have been assigned. This blinding remains in place until the final analysis phase is complete.
This computerized randomization process is chosen for its precision and ability to handle large datasets efficiently, making it ideal for our study's scope and scale. The method's transparency and reliability support the trial's goal to produce valid and generalizable findings.
Randomization Unit
The randomization in our study is conducted at the individual level, ensuring that each participant has an equal chance of being assigned to any of the treatment or control groups. This approach is particularly suited to the interventions being tested, which are designed to measure the impact of financial literacy and aspirations enhancement tools on individual behavioral outcomes.

Details of Randomization Units:

Primary Unit: Each participant serves as an individual randomization unit. This method is chosen because the interventions – a digital financial literacy game and an inspirational documentary – are delivered and experienced on an individual basis, even when discussions or group activities follow the interventions.

Secondary Considerations: While the primary randomization is at the individual level, we also consider the composition of groups in community sessions where discussions about the documentary take place. These groups are formed post-randomization and are structured to ensure diversity and a mix of different treatment exposures. However, these group formations do not constitute a separate level of randomization but are a part of the intervention's delivery mechanism designed to enrich the interaction and learning experience.

This individual-level randomization ensures that the study can precisely attribute differences in outcomes to the interventions themselves, minimizing confounding variables that might arise from group dynamics or interactions. This method is rigorous in maintaining the scientific validity of the study's results.
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Our study does not utilize clustering in its experimental design. Each participant is individually randomized to one of the treatment groups or the control group, ensuring that the intervention's impact is assessed on a personal basis.

Number of Clusters: 0
This means there are no aggregated units such as schools, villages, or other groups where treatments are administered collectively. All interventions are directed at individuals, and thus, each participant represents a single, separate unit in the analysis.
Sample size: planned number of observations
In our study, we plan to enroll a total of 700 participants, each serving as an individual observation unit. This number reflects the total number of women who will be individually randomized to one of the four groups (three intervention groups and one control group). Number of Observations: 700 participants This setup allows for a direct and precise analysis of the intervention effects on financial literacy and entrepreneurial aspirations, ensuring robust statistical power to detect meaningful differences between the treatment and control groups.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Total Number of Participants: 700
Distribution by Treatment Arms:
Financial Literacy Game Group: 175 participants
Aspirations Documentary Group: 175 participants
Combined Intervention Group: 175 participants
Control Group: 175 participants
Each participant serves as an individual observation unit, and the equal distribution across the four groups ensures that each intervention and the control condition are robustly evaluated for effectiveness. This balanced allocation facilitates accurate comparative analysis of the interventions’ impacts on the primary outcomes of financial literacy improvement, entrepreneurial aspiration fulfillment, and economic empowerment.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
In the context of the planned randomized controlled trial evaluating the effectiveness of financial literacy and aspirations interventions among 700 participants, we hypothesize an effect size (Cohen's d) of 0.2. This anticipated impact represents a small but meaningful improvement in financial literacy and entrepreneurial outcomes, which is considered substantial within the fields of educational and behavioral interventions. Given the sample size of 700, this assumption will guide the statistical power calculations to determine the feasibility of detecting such an effect. This effect size reflects expected changes in key outcomes, including financial decision-making capabilities and the level of entrepreneurial aspirations among the participants. The selection of this effect size is based on conservative estimates which align with observed changes in similar contexts provided by existing literature and previous empirical studies. The power calculation, therefore, will be conducted to ensure that the study is sufficiently powered to detect a minimum effect size of 0.2 at a conventional alpha level of 0.05, aiming for a power (1 - β) of at least 80%. These parameters will enable us to ascertain the required adjustments or confirm the adequacy of the current sample size to achieve statistically significant results."

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Institutional Review Board for the Protection of Human Subjects , University of San Francisco
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
IRB Protocol #1922
IRB Name
Institutional Review Board for the Protection of Human Subjects , University of San Francisco
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Protocol #1922


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