Leader Selection and Service Delivery in Community Groups: Experimental Evidence from Uganda
Last registered on April 23, 2018

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Leader Selection and Service Delivery in Community Groups: Experimental Evidence from Uganda
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0002924
Initial registration date
April 21, 2018
Last updated
April 23, 2018 7:09 PM EDT
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Northwestern University
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
BRAC International
PI Affiliation
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Additional Trial Information
Status
Completed
Start date
2011-05-01
End date
2015-06-01
Secondary IDs
Abstract
In developing countries, NGOs and Governments often rely on local community-based groups for the delivery of financial and public services. This paper provides causal evidence of how the design of rules used for group leader selection affects leader identity and shapes group service delivery. In collaboration with the NGO BRAC, we randomly assigned newly-formed Savings and Loan Groups to select their leaders using either (i) a procedure in which final outcomes are decided in a public discussion or (ii) a procedure in which final outcomes are decided in a private vote. Leaders selected with a private vote are found to be less positively selected on socioeconomic characteristics than those elected in the public procedure, and at the same time more representative of regular group members. Furthermore, selecting more representative leaders—through a private vote—results in groups that are more inclusive towards poor members by giving them more credit and retaining them longer. Three years after their creation, private vote groups are more inclusive than public discussion groups, without being less economically efficient.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
DESERRANNO, ERIKA, MIRI STRYJAN and MUNSHI SULAIMAN. 2018. "Leader Selection and Service Delivery in Community Groups: Experimental Evidence from Uganda." AEA RCT Registry. April 23. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/2924/history/28695
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
This paper provides causal evidence of how electoral procedures affect the identity of group leaders, and how this in turn shapes the coverage and the targeting of group services. During the creation of 92 new Savings and Loan Groups in north-eastern Uganda (Karamoja), we randomly assigned group members to select their leaders using one of two different participatory and inclusive selection rules: (i) a public discussion or (ii) a private (secret ballot) vote. Our goal is to determine whether the procedure used to select leaders can affect the allocation of services.

The local groups analyzed in this paper were created by the NGO BRAC with the goal of providing access to financial services in a context where such services were previously virtually nonexistent. Each group is formed by up to 30 young local women who deposit savings with the group on a weekly basis; and can take loans out of these savings. Groups are managed by 5 elected Committee Members (CMs) who receive training from BRAC and are then asked to act as leaders. These CMs play an important role: in addition to managing the regular group activities, they decide how to allocate loans across group members.

Our experiment creates random variation in the procedure used by groups to select their CMs. In the "discussion" groups, group members are asked to publicly discuss which of them is best suited for the CM positions until reaching an agreement on whom to appoint. In "vote" groups, members hold a similar public discussion which is, however, followed by a private vote. In this vote, group members are asked to secretly indicate their preferred candidate for each committee position, regardless of whether this person was nominated in the public discussion. The person with most votes is appointed. Aside the selection procedure, other meeting details are held constant across the two treatments. For instance, the CM selection always takes place in a meeting attended by all group members and where a BRAC staff is present, and the CM positions are always filled sequentially.
Intervention Start Date
2012-02-01
Intervention End Date
2012-03-01
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
amount borrowed from group, amount saved in group, retention in the group, allocation of loans across group members.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
During the creation of 92 new Savings and Loan Groups in north-eastern Uganda (Karamoja), we randomly assigned group members to select their leaders using one of two different participatory and inclusive selection rules: (i) a public discussion or (ii) a private vote. The randomization is at the group-level:
(i) Discussion Treatment (Public Discussion): Any group member could nominate a candidate for the position. Other members could then second or oppose the nomination publicly until the group agreed on a name.
(ii) Vote Treatment (Private Vote): Each group member was asked to privately vote for their preferred candidate by writing the name on a piece of paper and then placing it in a basket. An external staff then compiled the votes and the person with most votes was elected.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
computer
Randomization Unit
Saving and Loan Group
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
92 saving and loan groups
Sample size: planned number of observations
1483 group members
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
46 groups in "Public Discussion" treatment, 46 groups in "Private Vote" treatment
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Study has received IRB approval. Details not available.
IRB Approval Date
Details not available
IRB Approval Number
Details not available
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