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Savings Constraints and Microenterprise Development: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Kenya
Last registered on September 27, 2016

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Savings Constraints and Microenterprise Development: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Kenya
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0001592
Initial registration date
September 27, 2016
Last updated
September 27, 2016 1:31 PM EDT
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Stanford University
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Economics Department, University of California at Santa Cruz
Additional Trial Information
Status
Completed
Start date
2006-02-01
End date
2013-01-01
Secondary IDs
Abstract
Does limited access to formal savings services impede business growth in poor countries? To shed light on this question, we randomized access to noninterest-bearing bank accounts among two types of self-employed individuals in rural Kenya: market vendors (who are mostly women) and men working as bicycle taxi drivers. Despite large withdrawal fees, a substantial share of market women used the accounts, were able to save more, and increased their productive investment and private expenditures. We see no impact for bicycletaxi drivers. These results imply significant barriers to savings and investment for market women in our study context.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Dupas, Pascaline and Jonathan Robinson. 2016. "Savings Constraints and Microenterprise Development: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Kenya ." AEA RCT Registry. September 27. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.1592-1.0.
Former Citation
Dupas, Pascaline and Jonathan Robinson. 2016. "Savings Constraints and Microenterprise Development: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Kenya ." AEA RCT Registry. September 27. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/1592/history/10838.
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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
Individuals in the treatment group were offered the opportunity to open a savings account at the village savings bank at no cost (the researchers would pay the opening fee and the initial minimum deposit).
Intervention Start Date
2006-05-01
Intervention End Date
2009-12-31
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Savings indicators = Average daily bank savings, active bank usage, animal savings, ROSCA contributions;
Business impact indicators= total hours worked, business investment, business revenues;
Expenditure indicators= daily food expenditure, daily private expenditure, net transfers outside of household, net transfers to spouse
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
Enumerators identified market vendors and bicycle drivers in specific areas around the town and gave a background survey to everyone who agreed to participate. Of those without savings accounts already, 392 individuals remained: 262 female vendors, 34 male vendors, and 92 male bicycle drivers.
These individuals were randomized into treatment and control groups stratified by gender and occupation. Members of the control group were also offered the opportunity to open a savings account, but were not offered financial assistance.

Participants were asked to keep a daily logbook keeping track of income, expenditure, business modules, labor supplies, and transfers given and received. Enumerators made frequent visits to ensure proper completion, and small monetary rewards were offered for adequate participation.

Data collected included a background survey of baseline characteristics of participants, administrative data from the village bank, tests of time and risk preference, a cognitive test, and data from the logbooks.

250 total logbooks were collected from the participants: 170 from female vendors, 25 from male vendors, and 55 from male bicycle drivers. 96 female vendors were assigned to the control group, 74 to the treatment group. 39 male vendors and bicycle drivers were assigned to the control group; 41 to the treatment group. The treatment was administered in three waves: the first wave of treatment occurred in May 2006, the second in June 2007, and the third in June 2009. Participants in all waves recorded logbooks for the same time period during each wave: from mid-September to mid-December.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization was done in STATA
Randomization Unit
Randomized by individuals stratified by gender and occupation
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
250 individuals
Sample size: planned number of observations
250 individuals
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Female vendors: 96 individuals in control; 74 in treatment
Male vendors and bicycle taxi drivers: 39 individuals in control, 41 in treatment
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Princeton IRB
IRB Approval Date
Details not available
IRB Approval Number
Details not available
IRB Name
ICS IRB
IRB Approval Date
Details not available
IRB Approval Number
Details not available
IRB Name
UCSC
IRB Approval Date
Details not available
IRB Approval Number
Details not available
IRB Name
IPA Kenya IRB
IRB Approval Date
Details not available
IRB Approval Number
Details not available
Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
Yes
Intervention Completion Date
December 31, 2009, 12:00 AM +00:00
Is data collection complete?
Yes
Data Collection Completion Date
December 31, 2009, 12:00 AM +00:00
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
250 individuals
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
Yes
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
250 individuals
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
Female vendors: 96 individuals in control; 74 in treatment Male vendors and bicycle taxi drivers: 39 individuals in control, 41 in treatment
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
Yes
Program Files
Program Files
Reports and Papers
Preliminary Reports
Relevant Papers
Abstract
Does limited access to formal savings services impede business growth in poor countries? To shed light on this question, we randomized access to noninterest-bearing bank accounts among two types of self-employed individuals in rural Kenya: market vendors (who are mostly women) and men working as bicycle taxi drivers. Despite large withdrawal fees, a substantial share of market women used the accounts, were able to save more, and increased their productive investment and private expenditures. We see no impact for bicycle taxi drivers. These results imply significant barriers to savings and investment for market women in our study context.
Citation
Dupas, Pascaline and Jonathan Robinson. 2013. "Savings Constraints and Microenterprise Development: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Kenya." American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 5(1): 163-92.