When Less is More: Experimental Evidence on Information Delivery during India's Demonetization

Last registered on April 11, 2018

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
When Less is More: Experimental Evidence on Information Delivery during India's Demonetization
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0002881
Initial registration date
April 09, 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
April 11, 2018, 11:41 AM EDT

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

Locations

Region

Primary Investigator

Affiliation
Stanford

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Harvard
PI Affiliation
MIT
PI Affiliation
Harvard

Additional Trial Information

Status
On going
Start date
2016-12-01
End date
2019-01-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
How should policymakers disseminate information: by broadcasting or letting word spread from a small number of “seeds”? While conventional wisdom suggests broadcasting is better, we show theoretically and experimentally that this may not hold when people need to ask questions to fully comprehend the information. During the 2016 Indian demonetization, we varied how official policy information was delivered on two dimensions: how many were initially informed and whether it was disclosed publicly who was initially informed. Our results are consistent with the model: when who is informed is commonly known, telling more individuals leads to fewer conversations and inferior knowledge.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
, et al. 2018. "When Less is More: Experimental Evidence on Information Delivery during India's Demonetization." AEA RCT Registry. April 11. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.2881
Former Citation
, et al. 2018. "When Less is More: Experimental Evidence on Information Delivery during India's Demonetization." AEA RCT Registry. April 11. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/2881/history/28036
Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
We conducted a core 2x2 design crossed with a third arm.

The 2x2 design varied:
1) whether information about demonetization was broadcast to all households or simply 5 households (seeds)
2) whether there was or not common knowledge of this

This was crossed with whether the information pamphlet had 2 facts or 24 facts on it (short or long).


The randomization was done at the village level.
Intervention Start Date
2016-12-10
Intervention End Date
2017-02-28

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Number of conversations; Knowledge of demonetization rules; Choice of keeping an old Rs. 500 note vs taking Rs. 200 (delayed)
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
We conducted a core 2x2 design crossed with a third arm.

The 2x2 design varied:
1) whether information about demonetization was broadcast to all households or simply 5 households (seeds)
2) whether there was or not common knowledge of this

This was crossed with whether the information pamphlet had 2 facts or 24 facts on it (short or long).


The randomization was done at the village level.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Computer
Randomization Unit
Village
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
276 villages; 225 for the 8 cells above
Sample size: planned number of observations
Same as above
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
1/8th per cell
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Stanford
IRB Approval Date
2016-12-10
IRB Approval Number
35996

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