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Daily Income, Labor Supply and Multiple Accounts: A Mobile Money Field Experiment with Micro-Entrepreneurs in Malawi
Last registered on March 27, 2019

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Daily Income, Labor Supply and Multiple Accounts: A Mobile Money Field Experiment with Micro-Entrepreneurs in Malawi
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0002449
Initial registration date
March 06, 2018
Last updated
March 27, 2019 1:44 PM EDT
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
University of California, Santa Cruz
Other Primary Investigator(s)
Additional Trial Information
Status
Completed
Start date
2017-03-06
End date
2018-12-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
We will use high-frequency data from approximately 800 micro-entrepreneurs in Blantyre, Malawi to explore three main research questions. First, Malawi is a country with fairly low baseline mobile money usage. We seek to conduct an RCT to measure the effect of providing mobile money accounts on savings. Second, we will use high frequency phone logs to measure the effects of savings accounts on daily or weekly outcomes. Third, we seek to study the demand for, and impact of multiple labeled accounts. We will offer multiple savings accounts, and provide encouragement for purpose-specific labeling. Recent research suggests that labeling may promote savings through mental accounting. We hypothesize that mental accounting could also have a downside by making money less fungible between purposes. Our goal is to quantify these costs and benefits by examining differences in savings towards labeled and unlabeled purposes, and in resilience to shocks for those with and without multiple accounts.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Robinson, Jonathan. 2019. "Daily Income, Labor Supply and Multiple Accounts: A Mobile Money Field Experiment with Micro-Entrepreneurs in Malawi." AEA RCT Registry. March 27. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.2449-2.0.
Former Citation
Robinson, Jonathan. 2019. "Daily Income, Labor Supply and Multiple Accounts: A Mobile Money Field Experiment with Micro-Entrepreneurs in Malawi." AEA RCT Registry. March 27. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/2449/history/44235.
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
There are two savings interventions. The first of these will receive simple metal boxes with a lock (the “lockbox” group), and the other will receive mobile money (henceforth, MM) accounts. Within the lockbox and MM groups, we will randomly sample individuals to be offered either a single account, or multiple accounts. The MM accounts will be “as-is”, with the additional feature of all withdrawal fees reimbursed to the participants for the duration of the study.
Intervention Start Date
2017-06-28
Intervention End Date
2018-05-31
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Our main outcomes include savings labor supply, business outcomes (investment, revenues, and profits) and expenditures
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
We will draw a sample of approximately 800 entrepreneurs in Blantyre, Malawi. This sample will be randomly divided into a control group, and two groups which will receive savings devices. The first of these will receive simple metal boxes with a lock (the “lockbox” group), and the other will receive mobile money (henceforth, MM) accounts. Within the lockbox and MM groups, we will randomly sample individuals to be offered either a single account, or multiple accounts. The MM accounts will be “as-is”, with the additional feature of all withdrawal fees reimbursed to the participants for the duration of the study.

In addition, all study arms, including the control group, will be cross-randomized into a high-frequency phone survey treatment. During some parts of the study duration, respondents in this treatment will be called twice weekly and surveyed regarding a number of outcomes, including labor supply, business investment, savings, cash flow, and household shocks. We anticipate that these phone surveys will take place for a total of approximately 2-4 months, conducted in 2 separate waves.

In order to facilitate the phone survey as well as the MM treatment, respondents in these treatment arms have to be provided with cell phones. To eliminate the confounding effect of receiving a cell phone, all 800 individuals in the study will be given cell-phones.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
randomization by computer, in Stata
Randomization Unit
individuals (entrepreneurs)
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
800 entrepreneurs
Sample size: planned number of observations
800 entrepreneurs
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
There are 5 treatment groups: (1) 1 lockbox, (2) multiple lockboxes, (3) 1 mobile money account, (4) multiple mobile money accounts, and (5) control. In addition, half of the sample is selected to do high-frequency phone surveys and the other half is not. All individuals do follow-up surveys. There are thus 10 treatment cells, with 80 individuals in each cell.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
University of California, Santa Cruz
IRB Approval Date
2017-03-24
IRB Approval Number
2794
IRB Name
Indian School of Business
IRB Approval Date
2017-10-17
IRB Approval Number
ISB-IRB 2017 17
IRB Name
Malawi National Commission for Science and Technology
IRB Approval Date
2017-02-13
IRB Approval Number
P.12.16.145
IRB Name
University of California, Santa Cruz
IRB Approval Date
2015-11-16
IRB Approval Number
2517
Analysis Plan
Analysis Plan Documents
pre-analysis plan FINAL.pdf

MD5: 8d8e0b733f752160ec542ceedc7579dc

SHA1: 8d5273f68d28089b1aa597aa96ab3b4e2110df2d

Uploaded At: March 06, 2018

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