The effect of personalized and standardized finance trainings on small business owners

Last registered on March 16, 2018


Trial Information

General Information

The effect of personalized and standardized finance trainings on small business owners
Initial registration date
March 15, 2018

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
March 16, 2018, 11:46 AM EDT

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


Primary Investigator

DIW Berlin

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
DIW Berlin
PI Affiliation
DIW Berlin

Additional Trial Information

On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
In this study we examine two different financial trainings and compare them against each other. The first financial training is a “rule of thumb” based training that is designed especially for small business owners. The training tries to improve financial behaviors of business owners with a strong focus on improving investment strategies. It also informs about savings, borrowing and risk diversification as means to reach good investment practices. For the second training the content is the same as for the rules of thumbs training but it additionally provides personalized feedback on business owners past financial performance and practices. In addition there is a control group that receives a health and safety related training. We perform these trainings in Kampala, Uganda. Our participants are 500 small and micro entrepreneurs.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Grohmann, Antonia, Lukas Menkhoff and Helke Seitz. 2018. "The effect of personalized and standardized finance trainings on small business owners." AEA RCT Registry. March 16.
Former Citation
Grohmann, Antonia, Lukas Menkhoff and Helke Seitz. 2018. "The effect of personalized and standardized finance trainings on small business owners." AEA RCT Registry. March 16.
Experimental Details


We conduct the intervention with roughly 500 small and micro business owners in Kampala. Business owners were chosen at random out of a full listing of all small and micro business owners in the urban area. The listing was generated in the following way: In order to select sampling zones, we identified predominantly business zones based on interviews with the local administration. Based on 220 identified business zones, 21 zones were randomly selected for a door-to-door screening which resulted in 5,800 enterprises being listed. The screening survey identified enterprises with up to 10 employees and with a fix location. Finally, a first sample of 450 enterprises was drawn in 2012 with 200 enterprises in each retail and manufacturing sectors and 50 in services sectors. Replacements are drawn from the full list each year.
In order to conduct the trainings, we visit all business owners in their business, where trained enumerators present the respective information using a tablet. Information was presented in the business owners preferred language (English or Luganda). After the training session, which lasts for about 45 minutes, we left a booklet that contains all the information that was presented.
The treatment took place in October and November 2017.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
i) business profits, ii) business investment, iii) uptake of credit for the business, iv) savings (amounts and goals)
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
i) financial numeracy, measured by a set of standard questions to asses respondents ability to perform calculations related to finance ii) financial awareness, which measures awareness of certain financial products, iii) financial attitude and perception, which measures how people deal with certain financial situations, iv) planning, this measures whether someone is planning to invest in the future, v) record keeping, this measures if a business owner keeps records in their business, vi) separation of business and household. Here we will measure if someone keeps business and their household separate and also check if the business owner pays himself/herself a salary, vii) we will also look at reflection and impulsiveness
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
The intervention builds on a survey of micro and small enterprises (MSEs) collected by the German Institute of Global and Area Studies (GIGA) and the German Institute for Economics Research (DIW) in Uganda.
We randomized business owners into the three groups based on the 2016 wave of the survey. To assign treatment groups, we separated the sample into strata based on business sectors. The treatment assignment was done using STATA. The baseline survey for this treatment was collected in October 2017. After conducting the baseline survey, a different team went back to the business owners to conduct the treatments. The team that collected the baseline survey was unaware of the business owner’s treatment status.
Standardized (Rule of thumb) treatment: This treatment group received information on financial concepts that are related to investing, savings, borrowing, risk diversification and separating household and business. These treatments were designed to be simple and interactive. They are also designed to address the needs of small business owners. There were 165 participants in this group
Personalized feedback treatment: This groups received all the information that the rule of thumb treatment received, but in addition are given feedback on their own past behavior. Personalized feedback is given just after they were confronted with a corresponding rule of thumb. There were 167 participants in this group.
Control group: the groups received information on health and safety related to business. This training was designed to last about as long as the other trainings. The colors and the layout had a similar design to the other treatments. There were 168 participants in this group.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization was stratified by business sector and was done using STATA.
Randomization Unit
Randomization was done on the business level
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
No cluster
Sample size: planned number of observations
500 micro and small businesses
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Treatment "Rule of Thumb": Actual size: 165
Treatment "Personalized Feedback": Actual size: 167
Control: Actual size: 168
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Cohens`d: 0.2667

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number


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Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

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Program Files

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Reports, Papers & Other Materials

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