Eliminating Behavioral Barriers to Saving through a Tablet App for the Base of the Pyramid in Paraguay
Last registered on April 16, 2018


Trial Information
General Information
Eliminating Behavioral Barriers to Saving through a Tablet App for the Base of the Pyramid in Paraguay
Initial registration date
March 14, 2017
Last updated
April 16, 2018 8:16 AM EDT
Primary Investigator
Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Associate Professor, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Additional Trial Information
On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Low-income individuals rarely use formal savings products and seem to show little response to traditional incentives as a result of constraints and behavioral barriers. The treatments in this evaluation, which can be implemented in any standard tablet and are easily scalable by traditional banks, propose the use of an app to give simple information to poor individuals and help them move forward with a savings plan, reinforced with the use of SMS reminders. Starting in April 2017, a pilot will be rolled out testing the effectiveness of a tablet on savings and the use of precautionary methods. A follow-up survey was conducted in the last months of 2017. We are now analyzing the results of the follow-up.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Lafortune, Jeanne and José Tessada. 2018. "Eliminating Behavioral Barriers to Saving through a Tablet App for the Base of the Pyramid in Paraguay." AEA RCT Registry. April 16. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.2080-2.0.
Former Citation
Lafortune, Jeanne, Jeanne Lafortune and José Tessada. 2018. "Eliminating Behavioral Barriers to Saving through a Tablet App for the Base of the Pyramid in Paraguay." AEA RCT Registry. April 16. http://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/2080/history/28318.
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Experimental Details
The purpose of the intervention is to answer research questions such as: 1) what are the key barriers that the Base of the Pyramid faces in terms of savings, 2) can financial products that are feasible to implement for a traditional bank solve these barriers and can researchers promote savings using a precautionary motive and 3) can a tablet-based intervention solve some of the barriers faced by individuals at the moment of saving?
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
Baseline data collection has been ongoing since mid-October 2016 through a face-to-face survey with the use of tablets. At the end of the survey, individuals are randomly assigned to one of the 5 app-based treatment groups or to the control group. If they agree to answering the survey, they receive an incentive through cell phone minutes. The treatments are as follows:

#1: receive a short message on screen of the tablet reminding the importance of saving (control group).
#2: treatment is the same message as #1 including a monthly SMS reminder for a maximum period of six months (this period applies to every case a SMS is offered).
#3: the tablet will automatically calculate how much money the individual is currently saving based on income and spending data. The participant will use this as a reference to build a (flow) goal. The surveyor will include and show this goal on screen to the treated individual.
#4: same treatment as #3, including a monthly SMS reminding they can save their monthly goal.
#5: individuals shall pick a good or service of their interest (product, housing, holiday, etc) and declare how much they would be willing to save in order to contribute to its future purchase. Participants will also be offered to receive a monthly SMS reminding to save $X for Y good/service.
#6: app will calculate the individual’s need for buffer stock savings, depending on unforeseen income or expense variations declared in the baseline survey. A SMS will also be sent reminding to save $X to avoid income/expense shocks.

Starting in April 2017 a pilot will be carried out.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Not specified
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB Name
Comite etico cientifico de Ciencias Sociales, Artes y Humanidades, PUC-Chile
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Is the intervention completed?
Is data collection complete?
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
Program Files
Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials
Relevant Paper(s)