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Financial Inclusion Through Voice Alerts
Last registered on October 23, 2018

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Financial Inclusion Through Voice Alerts
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0002917
Initial registration date
April 21, 2018
Last updated
October 23, 2018 9:29 AM EDT
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Yale University
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Duke
PI Affiliation
Harvard
PI Affiliation
University of Southern California
PI Affiliation
Harvard
Additional Trial Information
Status
On going
Start date
2018-01-01
End date
2019-10-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
Over the last few years, financial inclusion has been a key priority for the Government of India, evident in the country's push to universalize access to basic "no frills" bank accounts through the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY). While there has been progress towards providing basic banking products to the masses, the path to universal financial inclusion is still fraught with major challenges. Even among holders of accounts with positive balances, many accounts remain dormant. Low financial literacy among the rural poor, especially women, implies the newly banked often lack a transparent, reliable, and low-cost method to access information their accounts, especially direct benefit transfers (DBT) made by the government into citizens' accounts. As a result, awareness of transfers made into accounts is low. This lack of information about accounts impedes account holders' ability to effectively use their bank accounts and adversely affects trust in formal banking channels. Low awareness also increases the likelihood that corruption can occur at the last-mile, since even biometrically-linked identification tools do not preclude all forms of funds leakage and fraud.

With the aim of addressing these challenges, we test the value of an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system to provide individuals with important information needed to successfully engage with the formal financial system. We propose testing the IVR system through a randomized control trial to assess the degree to which delivery of account information, particularly benefits from government schemes, via IVR helps integrate rural individuals into the formal banking system, increases knowledge and use of bank accounts, and whether IVR-based information provision speeds this process.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Field, Erica et al. 2018. "Financial Inclusion Through Voice Alerts." AEA RCT Registry. October 23. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.2917-2.0.
Former Citation
Field, Erica et al. 2018. "Financial Inclusion Through Voice Alerts." AEA RCT Registry. October 23. http://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/2917/history/36093.
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
IVR phone calls will deliver information about account activity and balances to account holders.
Intervention Start Date
2018-04-17
Intervention End Date
2019-10-31
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Account activity
Average Bank Account Balance
Number of visits to the bank
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Trust in the banking system
Demand for mobile phones
Outcomes related to fraud and leakages
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
This study includes females who bank at local kiosks using bank accounts provided through one of India's largest public sector banks. These local kiosks are operated by agents who provide basic banking services. We will send regular IVR phone calls to a randomly selected group of female account holders (the treatment group). These phone calls will provide the account holders information on their account activity and account balances for the accounts that they have at the kiosks. For another group of female account holders, we will monitor account activity but will not send IVR calls. We will use data on account activity before, during and after the intervention to compare outcomes for the treatment and control group. Randomization is at the individual level, and the sample is stratified by variables correlated with our main outcomes of interest: district, phone ownership, frequency of visits to a kiosk bank, and level of trust in saving money in the kiosk bank. We expect to examine heterogeneity based on these indicators, and notably trust in the banking system, as well. These indicators were collected in the baseline for the study, conducted in March and April 2018.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization was completed using Stata with fully replicable code.
Randomization Unit
Randomization is at the individual level, and the sample is stratified by variables correlated with our main outcomes of interest: district, phone ownership, frequency of visits to a kiosk bank, and level of trust in saving money in the kiosk bank.
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
This RCT is randomized at the individual level.
Sample size: planned number of observations
900 account holders across two districts
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
900 account holders across two districts; the sample is equally divided across treatment and control.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Empowering Women through Public Policy
IRB Approval Date
2018-02-06
IRB Approval Number
IRB13-1934
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, Papers & Other Materials
Relevant Paper(s)
REPORTS & OTHER MATERIALS