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Monitoring Employees: A Principal-Agent Approach to Contracts, Safety and Productivity in Kenya’s Informal Public Transport Industry
Last registered on September 14, 2016


Trial Information
General Information
Monitoring Employees: A Principal-Agent Approach to Contracts, Safety and Productivity in Kenya’s Informal Public Transport Industry
Initial registration date
September 14, 2016
Last updated
September 14, 2016 9:43 PM EDT
Primary Investigator
UC Berkeley Economics
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
UC Berkeley Agricultural and Resource Economics
PI Affiliation
UC Berkeley Agricultural and Resource Economics
Additional Trial Information
On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Asymmetric information between employers and employees is a key determinant of contractual arrangements and firm outcomes. We report on a randomized controlled trial estimating the effect of reducing information asymmetry on contracts, productivity and driver safety via a new monitoring technology in Kenya’s informal public transport industry. This industry is dominated by small-scale entrepreneurs hiring minibus (matatu) drivers on a daily basis using residual-claimant schemes to ensure effort. We fit minibuses in both the treatment and control group with monitoring devices equipped with GPS and accelerometers recording high-frequency data on productivity and safety performance of drivers. Minibus owners in the treatment group receive information on driver effort and output via smartphone app. Owners and drivers in both treatment group and control group submit daily data on business outcomes to document how contracts change and how this subsequently affects productivity and safety.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Kelley, Erin, Gregory Lane and David Schoenholzer. 2016. "Monitoring Employees: A Principal-Agent Approach to Contracts, Safety and Productivity in Kenya’s Informal Public Transport Industry." AEA RCT Registry. September 14.
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Experimental Details
Primary intervention: access to safety and productivity information for minibus (matatu) owners via smartphone app. Secondary intervention: cash incentives for drivers based on safe driving performance.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
safety: speed, acceleration, alerts, safety index; productivity: revenue, work hours, mileage, earnings, expenses, profit; contract: target, target gap, linear rate, separations, firings.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
safety index is based on mapping speed and acceleration to human-measured driving behavior; profit equals revenue minus expenses.
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
Stratified randomization across routes.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
computer randomization.
Randomization Unit
The minibus (matatu) is the cluster of randomization; we stratify on the route. We cross-randomize the secondary treatment across the primary treatment such that with equal probability primary-treatment and primary-controls are in the secondary treatment group.
Was the treatment clustered?
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
253 minibuses (matatus).
Sample size: planned number of observations
For driving behavior analysis, we generate a 30-second panel (when ignition on) over 6 months and 253 bus, resulting in about 76 million observations. For productivity and safety analysis, daily measurements from reports via smartphone and SMS, resulting in about 45,500 observations.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
120 treatment, 120 control and 13 pure control; secondary treatment is crossed with the first one after three months (i.e. within primary treatment and control there will be equal subgroups of secondary treatment and control).
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB Name
KNH / University of Nairobi Ethics and Research Committee
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
IRB Name
UC Berkeley Committee for Protection of Human Subjects
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number