Grain Today, Gain Tomorrow: Evidence from a Storage Experiment with Savings Clubs in Kenya
Last registered on April 28, 2017

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Grain Today, Gain Tomorrow: Evidence from a Storage Experiment with Savings Clubs in Kenya
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0002188
Initial registration date
April 28, 2017
Last updated
April 28, 2017 3:07 PM EDT
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
University of California, Santa Cruz
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
University of California, Santa Cruz
PI Affiliation
Indian School of Business
Additional Trial Information
Status
Completed
Start date
2015-08-01
End date
2016-11-30
Secondary IDs
Abstract
In many rural areas in Africa, staple food prices display predictable, sizeable price changes over the year, from post-harvest troughs to lean season peaks. We experimentally evaluate a group-based storage scheme with 139 treatment and control savings clubs in Kenya, designed to enable farmers to take advantage of these intertemporal price gains by storing maize after harvest. Treatment clubs were offered a savings product in which farmers could deposit a fraction of their harvest into a communal storage account, to be sold later in the season. We find that 58% of farmers took up the scheme, and that treatment farmers were 7-23 percentage points more likely to store maize for the hungry season and stored about 10% more maize than control farmers. We find that the vast majority of this maize was sold, leading to large effects on sales: treatment farmers were about twice as likely to sell maize. Finally, farmers realized gains from arbitrage – conditional on selling, the average sale by a treatment farmer was a month later than that of a control farmer, and was made at a 5 percent higher price.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Aggarwal, Shilpa, Eilin Francis and Jonathan Robinson. 2017. "Grain Today, Gain Tomorrow: Evidence from a Storage Experiment with Savings Clubs in Kenya." AEA RCT Registry. April 28. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/2188/history/17021
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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
At an initial ROSCA meeting, each ROSCA was read a script about the benefits of setting maize aside after the harvest, of using inputs generally, and of saving. This basic script was augmented for group savings ROSCAs to also explain the group savings intervention. ROSCA members were encouraged to collectively set aside some portion of their harvest, and hold it to sell when prices had risen. ROSCAs were given hermetically sealed storage bags (called Purdue Improved Crop Storage, or PICS bags).

In addition to the bags, farmers were provided a heavily subsidized wooden stand to keep the maize elevated from the ground (and less susceptible to pests and water damage). Finally, ROSCAs were provided logbooks in which the treasurer could keep track of all deposits and withdrawals of maize by individual members. After describing the program, ROSCAs were given a month to think it over. Our field staff emphasized that not all members of a participating ROSCA were required to contribute maize for their ROSCA to qualify for the program.
Intervention Start Date
2015-08-01
Intervention End Date
2016-11-30
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
storage, maize sales (quantities, revenues, dates, prices), take-up of experimental accounts
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
In July 2015, we conducted a door to door census of 552 individuals in 17 villages spread across three counties in Western Kenya and identified 497 ROSCAs. The census collected basic identifying information about the ROSCA, as well as contact information for ROSCA officials. After identifying this list, we randomly sampled 274 ROSCAs for project inclusion. Enumerators called the treasurers of selected ROSCAs to schedule an initial meeting (at one of the normally scheduled ROSCA meetings).

We randomized ROSCAs into 3 treatment groups: (1) the Group Savings and Reinvestment Account (GSRA), which is the focus of this study; (2) control, and (3) an individual savings account group.

Of the 274 sampled ROSCAs, 163 were successfully reached. Since non-participation occurred before treatment was announced, it should not be possible that treatment affected project participation. However, due to random chance, more GSRA ROSCAs were reachable by phone than the other groups (of the 163 ROSCAs that were traced, 60 were GSRA, 52 were control, and 51 were ISRA). An additional 24 attrited before the intervention, leaving 139 ROSCAs. There are thus more GSRA ROSCAs (53) than control (41) and individual savings (45).
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization was done by Stata, in an office
Randomization Unit
the unit of randomization was the ROSCA (Rotating Savings and Credit Association)
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
139 ROSCAs
Sample size: planned number of observations
786 ROSCA members at baseline
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
53 group savings ROSCAs, 41 control, and 45 individual savings ROSCAs
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Maseno University
IRB Approval Date
2015-07-07
IRB Approval Number
Details not available
IRB Name
Innovations for Poverty Action
IRB Approval Date
2015-06-12
IRB Approval Number
10936
IRB Name
University of California, Santa Cruz
IRB Approval Date
2015-05-11
IRB Approval Number
2422
Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
No
Is data collection complete?
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
No
Program Files
Program Files
Reports and Papers
Preliminary Reports
Relevant Papers