Limited Insurance Within the Household in Kenya
Last registered on February 22, 2017


Trial Information
General Information
Limited Insurance Within the Household in Kenya
Initial registration date
February 22, 2017
Last updated
February 22, 2017 10:16 AM EST
Primary Investigator
University of California, Santa Cruz
Other Primary Investigator(s)
Additional Trial Information
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
In developing countries, unexpected income shocks are common but informal insurance is typically incomplete. An important question is therefore whether risk-sharing within the household is effective. This paper presents results from a field experiment with 142 married couples in Kenya in which individuals were given random income shocks. Even though the shocks were small relative to lifetime income, men increase private consumption when they receive the shock but not when their wives do, a rejection of efficiency. Such behavior is not specific to the experiment - both spouses spend more on themselves when their labor income is higher.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Robinson, Jonathan. 2017. "Limited Insurance Within the Household in Kenya." AEA RCT Registry. February 22.
Sponsors & Partners

There are documents in this trial unavailable to the public. Use the button below to request access to this information.

Request Information
Experimental Details
The intervention randomly provides a 150 Kenyan shilling income shock to participants at the end of each weekly monitoring visit for 8 weeks. The probability of receiving the shock in a given week was 50 percent for each spouse. Thus, there are weeks in which both spouses got the shock, weeks in which only one or the other got the shock, and weeks in which neither did. The shocks were announced to each spouse, so that each knew what the other had gotten. Payments were made privately, however, and individuals were told that they could spend the money however they chose.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
consumption expenditure, financial transfers (within the household and outside the household), labor hours worked, labor income, savings (bank/ROSCA and total savings)
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
Researchers provided randomly administered positive income shocks to couples, and monitored the consumption patterns of both individuals in the couple as a response to the shock.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
To make the payment of the shocks as transparent as possible, each enumerator carried with him a black plastic bag containing 56 slips of paper with the numbers 1-56 on them. Each number corresponded to a payment for both spouses. For each spouse, the drawing of 28 of the slips resulted in payment, while the drawing of the other 28 resulted in no payment.
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
142 couples
Sample size: planned number of observations
142 couples
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
The probability of receiving the shock in a given week was 50 percent for each spouse.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB Name
Princeton University
IRB Approval Date
Details not available
IRB Approval Number
Details not available
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Is the intervention completed?
Intervention Completion Date
October 31, 2006, 12:00 AM +00:00
Is data collection complete?
Data Collection Completion Date
October 31, 2006, 12:00 AM +00:00
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
142 couples
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
898 enumerator visits/surveys
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
Reports and Papers
Preliminary Reports
Relevant Papers
Limited Insurance within the Household: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Kenya
Robinson, Jonathan. 2012. "Limited Insurance Within the Household: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Kenya." American Economic Journal: Applied Economics 4(4): 140-164.