Subjective Expectations and Financial Intermediation

Last registered on May 29, 2024


Trial Information

General Information

Subjective Expectations and Financial Intermediation
Initial registration date
May 21, 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 29, 2024, 10:20 AM EDT

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


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Primary Investigator

Georgetown University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Georgetown University
PI Affiliation
Tsinghua University
PI Affiliation
University of Science and Technology of China
PI Affiliation
Indiana University
PI Affiliation
Tsinghua University

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
We study the role of subjective macroeconomic expectations in guiding financial intermediation choices and specifically how loan officers' subjective expectations about future interest rates, inflation, and economic growth shape their loan granting decisions above and beyond individual and macroeconomic observables. Whereas the subjective expectations and choices of firms' managers and households have been studied extensively over the last decade, the lack of viable data for large and representative samples of loan officers has hindered researchers from studying the question we propose. We tackle this issue by accessing loan officers from various Chinese banks who source borrowers from the same online financial intermediation platform. We administer surveys that include an information treatment component to elicit loan officers' macroeconomic expectations, obtain exogenous variation in their expectations updates, and estimate the causal effects of expectations updates on credit allocation decisions at both the extensive margin (loan approval/rejection) and the intensive margin (most likely interest rate assigned to loans, conditional on acceptance).
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

D'Acunto, Francesco et al. 2024. "Subjective Expectations and Financial Intermediation." AEA RCT Registry. May 29.
Experimental Details


The study consists of repeated survey waves. The subject pool comprises loan officers that operate on an online marketplace lending platform in the People’s Republic of China. These loan officers are professionals who are registered with the platform and licensed to make loan decisions on the platform on behalf of the financial institutions that employ them.

Subject will be invited to participate in the study by the administrators of the online platform, who routinely interact with the subjects regarding all issues related to the platform working and setup. Subjects will receive an email from the platform that includes the study description and contact information before being asked whether they consent to participate in the study. The information page includes clear statements about the fact that whether the loan officer decides to participate or not in the survey will have no implications whatsoever for their activities or their employers.

The subjects who consent to participate will face an online survey that includes four components: (1) Pre-intervention Phase; (2) Information Provision Stage; (3) Post-information provision stage; and (4) Loan Decisions.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Credit allocation decisions at the extensive margin (loan approval/denial) and intensive margin (expected interest rate assigned to a loan, if approves)
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
The experiment consists of a 3 (interest rate, inflation, GDP Growth) x 2 (High, Low) factorial design in which each experimental arm is assigned to a different truthful piece of information regarding future macroeconomic conditions. The experiment also includes a control group that is provided with no information.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization is done by a computer using a random number generator based on which subject will be assigned to one of the experimental arms.
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
500 loan officers
Sample size: planned number of observations
1,500 loan decisions
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Georgetown University IRB
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number