Electronic Transfers of Public Subsidies to Bank Accounts (Chile Cuenta)

Last registered on March 31, 2020

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Electronic Transfers of Public Subsidies to Bank Accounts (Chile Cuenta)
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0002081
Initial registration date
March 24, 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
April 27, 2017, 1:41 PM EDT

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

Last updated
March 31, 2020, 10:13 PM EDT

Last updated is the most recent time when changes to the trial's registration were published.

Locations

Region

Primary Investigator

Affiliation
Universidad de Chile

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
PI Affiliation
Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

Additional Trial Information

Status
On going
Start date
2011-09-05
End date
2020-08-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
Many beneficiaries of social welfare programs around the world receive benefits in cash or by check. Can distributing welfare benefits through electronic transfers directly into bank accounts help low-income individuals enter the formal financial sector? We evaluate how transitioning a social welfare program from cash distribution to electronic transfers impacts recipients’ access to their funds, as well as their savings, debt and subjective well-being.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
A., Claudia, Abhijit Banerjee and Esteban Puentes. 2020. "Electronic Transfers of Public Subsidies to Bank Accounts (Chile Cuenta)." AEA RCT Registry. March 31. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.2081
Former Citation
A., Claudia et al. 2020. "Electronic Transfers of Public Subsidies to Bank Accounts (Chile Cuenta)." AEA RCT Registry. March 31. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/2081/history/65298
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
We evaluate a financial inclusion intervention in Chile. The intervention consist in offering an electronic payment of subsides to families of the main anti-poverty program in Chile (Programa Puente). We use bank accounts of BancoEstado (the only estate-owned commercial bank in the country) and compare this offering with the usual form of payment which is done through checks.
Intervention Start Date
2012-11-01
Intervention End Date
2013-10-31

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Savings, Debt, Consumption
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
The Chilean Ministry of Social Development, which runs the Puente social welfare program, is working with Banco del Estado, a state-owned but independently run bank, to electronically deposit social welfare payments into beneficiaries’ bank accounts. As the program rolled out, researchers randomly selected 3,232 Puente beneficiaries in Santiago to participate in the study. Three quarters of these beneficiaries were randomly selected to receive an offer for a bank account and direct deposit of their welfare payments into the account. The remaining beneficiaries continued to receive their payments by check, serving as a comparison group.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
The randomization was made at an individual level. The stratification variables were (1) age of the beneficiary, (2) score in the social security card, (3) time they have been participating in the program and (4) municipality.
Randomization Unit
Individual
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
3,232 families
Sample size: planned number of observations
3,232 families
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
810 control; 2,422 treatment (total 3,232)

Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Comittee on the use of Humans as Experimental Subjects
IRB Approval Date
2017-01-13
IRB Approval Number
1212005419

Post-Trial

Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Intervention

Is the intervention completed?
Yes
Intervention Completion Date
December 31, 2015, 12:00 +00:00
Data Collection Complete
Yes
Data Collection Completion Date
January 01, 2017, 12:00 +00:00
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
For the first stage: 3,232 families
For the second stage: Not specified
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
No
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
For the first stage: 3,232 families
For the second stage: Not specified

(This is equivalent to the planned number of clsuters since only one member from each family was allowed to participate.)
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
For the first stage: 810 control; 2,422 treatment (total 3,232) For the second stage: not specified
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?
No

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Program Files

Program Files
No
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials