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Leaving no-one behind: using role models to inspire enterprise activity among ethnic minority households in rural Vietnam

Last registered on June 16, 2017


Trial Information

General Information

Leaving no-one behind: using role models to inspire enterprise activity among ethnic minority households in rural Vietnam
Initial registration date
June 16, 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
June 16, 2017, 8:30 PM EDT

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



Primary Investigator

Trinity College Dublin

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Trinity College Dublin
PI Affiliation
UNU-WIDER and University of Copenhagen

Additional Trial Information

On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Vietnam has experienced remarkable economic success over the last decade. Incomes and living standards have grown to the extent that Vietnam achieved lower middle-income status in 2010. Growth in Vietnam has been characterized by a process of structural transformation involving a reallocation of resources from agriculture to other higher productivity sectors. An important outcome of this success story is that poverty has fallen dramatically from 57 percent, in terms of the poverty headcount ratio, in the 1990s to just 3 percent by 2010-12 (Tarp, 2016).

Recent work based on the Vietnamese Access to Resources Households Survey (VARHS) 2006-2014, however, shows that the fruits of this growth have not been evenly distributed and that many households have in fact declined in terms of welfare over the last decade (McKay and Tarp, 2016). One particularly vulnerable group is ethnic minority households. Findings from the VARHS, show that households of non-Kinh identity have fared considerably worse than Kinh households in reaping the fruits of economic prosperity over the last decade. Indeed, Singhal and Beck (2016) highlight that the disparity in income and food expenditure between non-Kinh and Kinh groups has widened between 2006 and 2014. They note, in particular, that the proportion of non-Kinh households that operate successful household enterprises is considerably smaller than Kinh households. Moreover, self-employment tends to be transitory for non-Kinh households. Given that household enterprises are an important source of income for households, particularly in rural areas where many non-Kinh households live, it is important to understand what the constraint are to non-Kinh households in establishing and growing household enterprises.

Over the last decade, a literature has emerged which focuses on how development policies can better target human behaviour. This is motivated by the recent World Development Report (World Bank, 2015) which highlights the importance of understanding human thinking in designing policies. An important component of this relates to mind-sets and aspirations. Indeed, emerging empirical research has found that by providing role models of successful individuals improves aspirations (Bernard et al., 2014) and economic outcomes (Lubega et al., 2016). There are strong arguments to suggest that the impact of such interventions may be even greater for vulnerable groups that, in general, feel marginalised from society (Lubega et al., 2016).
In this project, we propose to explore whether shifting mind-sets and aspirations through role models can lead to more enterprise activity among ethnic minorities in Vietnam. This will be achieved by testing the extent to which a carefully designed role models intervention can impact on the extent of engagement in enterprise activities by non-Kinh households.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Narciso, Gaia, Carol Newman and Finn Tarp. 2017. "Leaving no-one behind: using role models to inspire enterprise activity among ethnic minority households in rural Vietnam." AEA RCT Registry. June 16.
Former Citation
Narciso, Gaia, Carol Newman and Finn Tarp. 2017. "Leaving no-one behind: using role models to inspire enterprise activity among ethnic minority households in rural Vietnam." AEA RCT Registry. June 16.
Experimental Details


The intervention will take the form of a documentary video which will tell the story of a successful non-Kinh entrepreneur who managed to lift his household out of poverty through enterprise activities. The video will address the difficulties encountered, the strategies employed and will include an inspirational message to motivate individuals starting out in a similar situation. The casting for this video will be such that it will be a real life story of somebody that the individuals in our sample can relate to and be inspired by. The video will be shown to ethnic minority households in a local community hall in treated communes.

To fully understand the underlying mechanisms at work, two other intervention arms will be considered. One, will be a placebo video that will be shown under the same circumstances to a second group of treatment communes. This video will be a short movie that is typically shown on Vietnamese television. This placebo treatment will allow us to disentangle whether it is the inspirational message in the video that impacts on outcomes or the fact that members of the community gather together in a public place to view the video.

The final treatment group will also be called together to view a screening of the documentary but in this case an individual of Kinh identity will be cast to deliver the same story as is told by the non-Kinh role model. This will allow us to separate out the impact of providing information on how to overcome struggles in establishing an enterprise from the effect of providing a role model with an identity that individuals can relate to.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Starting enterprise activities, incomes, children’s schooling, savings, credit, investment, social capital, aspirations, social networks, intra-household decision making.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
The study will focus on three provinces in the North of Vietnam, Lao Cai, Lai Chau and Dien Bien, where there are a large number of ethnic minority households. The baseline are based on the Vietnamese Access to Resources Household Survey conducted in 2016. We use the sample of 494 ethnic minority households covered by the VARHS from the three provinces. They are spread over 88 communes. We supplement the sample with an additional 310 ethnic minority households randomly selected within communes from the population of ethnic minority households in each commune to ensure that there is at least 8 households in each commune.

Group 1: Control group (no intervention)
Group 2: Role models video treatment
Group 3: Placebo video treatment
Group 4: Information video treatment
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
The sample is stratified by the three provinces. Communes are randomly assigned to one of the three treatment groups and the control group. This was done in office by a computer using STATA V.14.
Randomization Unit
The unit of randomization is the commune
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
88 communes
Sample size: planned number of observations
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
22 communes control, 22 communes role models video treatment, 22 communes placebo video treatment, 22 communes information video treatment
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number


Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Is the intervention completed?
Intervention Completion Date
February 28, 2018, 12:00 +00:00
Data Collection Complete
Data Collection Completion Date
July 30, 2018, 12:00 +00:00
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
88 communes
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
754 participants
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
22 communes control, 22 communes placebo, 22 communes ethnic role models, 22 communes Kinh role models
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

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Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials