Heterogeneous quality of agricultural commercial inputs and learning through experimentation

Last registered on December 18, 2016

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Heterogeneous quality of agricultural commercial inputs and learning through experimentation
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0000268
Initial registration date
February 17, 2014
Last updated
December 18, 2016, 12:18 PM EST

Locations

Region

Primary Investigator

Affiliation
Paris School of Economics

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Paris School of Economics

Additional Trial Information

Status
In development
Start date
2014-02-18
End date
2017-12-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
This study aims to analyze the learning about product quality by farmers who are encouraged to experiment with inputs. We will study whether such experimentation leads to higher adoption of products that were shown to have higher returns on a farmer’s own farm. After identifying farmers who are interested in participating in an agronomical trial in 96 villages, we will randomly select half of the villages to participate. They will be invited to experiment with several inputs and practices, under guidance of an agronomical researcher. By comparing these treatment farmers with the control farmers (the other half) we will test whether the reduction in asymmetry of information about the returns to different inputs translates into a higher take up of the good while crowding out the lower return ones. We focus on whether learning-by-doing differs with soil characteristics and farmers’ own characteristics (in particular their technical, cognitive and non-cognitive skills). The random assignment generates an experimental control group that also allows analyzing potential biases in agronomical field trials.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
, and Karen Macours. 2016. "Heterogeneous quality of agricultural commercial inputs and learning through experimentation." AEA RCT Registry. December 18. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.268-2.0
Former Citation
, , Karen Macours and Karen Macours. 2016. "Heterogeneous quality of agricultural commercial inputs and learning through experimentation." AEA RCT Registry. December 18. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/268/history/12583
Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
Farmers will invited to participate in an agronomical trial in which they'llexperiment with several inputs and practices, under guidance of an agronomical researcher.
Intervention Start Date
2014-02-24
Intervention End Date
2016-01-31

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
o Adoption of inputs and practices with demonstrated high return
o Heterogeneity in adoption and returns based on baseline skills and soil characteristics.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
o First 96 villages were randomly selected from a map of all the villages in the division, and the geographical concentration of the villages per sub-location was also randomized.
o Among the 96 villages, 1/4 will be randomly assigned to participate in agronomical trials for 3 seasons starting in season 1; ¼ will be randomly assigned to participate in agronomical trials for 3 seasons starting in season 2; and ½ stay in the control group. Assignment of villages to treatment and control occurs through public lotteries.
o In each of the 96 villages, candidates to participate in the research trials were obtained in the following way: 5 farmers were selected by the community during a village gathering; and another 5 farmers were randomly drawn among all households in the village. The later randomization was done in office by computer.
o Within each treatment village, selected farmers are randomly assigned to participate in agronomical trials with maize (40%), with soya (30%), or soya-maize intercrop (30%). This randomization will be done in office by computer.
o Each of the participating farmers will be invited to participate in an agronomical trial on a small part of his land. This plot will be sub-divided into 6 sub-plots, which will randomly be assigned to 6 different input combinations. This randomization will be done in office by computer.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Village level randomization by public lottery
All other randomizations done in office by computer
Randomization Unit
Village-level for overall treatment. Individual for variations of treatment
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
96 villages
Sample size: planned number of observations
900
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
1/4 for treatment first year; 1/4 for treatment second year; 1/2 control
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Maseno University Ethics Review Committee
IRB Approval Date
2013-08-28
IRB Approval Number
MSU/DRPC/MUERC/000025/13
IRB Name
JPAL-Europe IRB
IRB Approval Date
2013-05-29
IRB Approval Number
CE/2013-003

Post-Trial

Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Intervention

Is the intervention completed?
No
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?
No

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials