Transaction Costs, Bargaining Power, and Savings Account Use in Kenya

Last registered on January 22, 2017

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Transaction Costs, Bargaining Power, and Savings Account Use in Kenya
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0001824
Initial registration date
January 22, 2017

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
January 22, 2017, 8:07 PM EST

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

Locations

Region

Primary Investigator

Affiliation
University of Southern California

Other Primary Investigator(s)

Additional Trial Information

Status
Completed
Start date
2009-07-01
End date
2013-08-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
Efforts to promote financial inclusion in developing countries often entail making formal bank accounts cheaper and easier to access. Such increases in liquidity may be counterproductive, however, when individuals face demands on their savings from others, or internal self-control problems. To study these issues, I conducted a field experiment where access to ATM cards (which reduced withdrawal fees by over 50 percent and allowed withdrawals outside of bank hours) was randomly assigned to over 1,100 newly opened bank accounts in Kenya. While the cards substantially increased account use, the positive treatment effect is entirely driven by accounts owned by men and jointly owned bank accounts - treatment effects for women's accounts are negative and not significantly different from zero. My results suggest that one important driver of this difference is intrahousehold concerns: both men and women with high levels of proxied bargaining power respond positively to the ATM treatment, while both men and women with low levels of bargaining power respond negatively. In contrast, I find no evidence that differences are driven by self-control or financial literacy.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Schaner, Simone. 2017. "Transaction Costs, Bargaining Power, and Savings Account Use in Kenya." AEA RCT Registry. January 22. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.1824
Former Citation
Schaner, Simone and Simone Schaner. 2017. "Transaction Costs, Bargaining Power, and Savings Account Use in Kenya." AEA RCT Registry. January 22. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/1824/history/13318
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
Family Bank held meetings to help couples open new bank accounts - either joint accounts or individual accounts. Each newly opened account was randomly allocated to the free ATM treatment group or the control group. When an opened account was randomly chosen to receive a free ATM card, respondents were informed that the Ksh 300 ATM card fee would be paid on their behalf, and that they could retrieve their card at the bank branch.

Additionally, before couples decided which accounts to open, each potential account was randomly assigned a temporary interest rate of either 0, 4, 12, or 20 percent, which expired after 6 months. Joint accounts could earn 4, 12, or 20 percent interest with equal probability while individual accounts could earn 0, 4, 12, or 20 percent interest with equal probability.
Intervention Start Date
2009-07-01
Intervention End Date
2010-05-01

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
# of deposits, # of withdrawals
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Outcomes were differentiated by account type (joint or individual) in an attempt to dissect how intrahousehold bargaining power influences account usage.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
This paper uses a field experiment to test whether making bank accounts cheaper and more convenient to access leads to increased account use. In the experiment, a subset of newly opened bank accounts owned by married couples were randomly selected to receive ATM cards free of charge. Bank accounts typically featured an over-the-counter withdrawal fee of $0.78, which is substantial in the experiment's rural Kenyan context. The ATM cards increased account accessibility because they reduced these withdrawal fees by over 50 percent (to $0.38), and also enabled card holders to make withdrawals outside of bank hours.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization was conducted in the field, with respondents drawing folded envelopes with their assigned treatment from tins.
Randomization Unit
Account
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
1,114 accounts (owned by 749 married couples)
Sample size: planned number of observations
1,114 accounts
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Free-ATM Treatment: 878 accounts
Control: 236
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Innovations for Poverty Action Kenya
IRB Approval Date
Details not available
IRB Approval Number
Details not available
IRB Name
Kenya Medical Research Institute
IRB Approval Date
Details not available
IRB Approval Number
Details not available
IRB Name
MIT
IRB Approval Date
Details not available
IRB Approval Number
Details not available
IRB Name
Dartmouth College
IRB Approval Date
Details not available
IRB Approval Number
Details not available

Post-Trial

Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Intervention

Is the intervention completed?
No
Data Collection Complete
Yes
Data Collection Completion Date
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
2,247 accounts
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
No
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
2,247 accounts. Activity was was tracked for all accounts, however, there was 9% attrition for the endline survey.
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
1,114 treatment accounts 1,133 control accounts
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?
No

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Abstract
The Cost of Convenience? Transaction Costs, Bargaining Power, and Savings Account Use in Kenya. Working Paper - August 14, 2013
Citation
Schaner, Simone. "The Cost of Convenience? Transaction Costs, Bargaining Power, and Savings Account Use in Kenya." Working Paper, August 2013.

Reports & Other Materials