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Personalization Effect in Debt Collection via Regular Mail
Last registered on June 06, 2018

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Personalization Effect in Debt Collection via Regular Mail
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0003042
Initial registration date
June 04, 2018
Last updated
June 06, 2018 3:27 PM EDT
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
European University Institute
Other Primary Investigator(s)
Additional Trial Information
Status
On going
Start date
2018-06-04
End date
2018-07-09
Secondary IDs
Abstract
The field experiment is carried out on 2,821 defaulted debtors with consumer debts in cooperation with a debt-collector enterprise in Latvia. The goal of the experiment is to examine the effect of three different regular mail debt reminder letters on paying back the debt. The control group receives a generic simple reminder, which resembles the usual reminder letter sent by the debt-collector at least once a year to each debtor. There are two treatment conditions. In both of them, a personalized letter is sent from a debt-collector's agent instead of a letter from the debt-collector's company. In one of the conditions the letter is sent and signed by a male agent, in the other one it is the female agent. Hence, the study has a factorial design with two factors: (1) personalization of the message and (2) gender of the debt-collector agent. The control group consists of 1,410 unique debtors while the two remaining groups consists of 706 (male agent) and 705 (female agent) individuals.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Saulitis, Andris. 2018. "Personalization Effect in Debt Collection via Regular Mail." AEA RCT Registry. June 06. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.3042-1.0.
Former Citation
Saulitis, Andris. 2018. "Personalization Effect in Debt Collection via Regular Mail." AEA RCT Registry. June 06. http://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/3042/history/30400.
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
Intervention Start Date
2018-06-04
Intervention End Date
2018-06-07
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
The variable of interest is called compliance rate. It is constructed from the information on the payment status in each case.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
The data will be gathered one month after the intervention, i.e., on July 9th, 2018. If a payment of any amount is made by the debtor to the debt-collector enterprise during the period June 5th, 2018 to July 9th, 2018, the case will be marked as “1”. If no payment will occur, the case will be marked as “0”. The compliance rate for each experimental condition will be calculated by diving the number of individuals who have paid with the total number of individuals in the group. The average treatment effect is the difference between the compliance rate.
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
The control group receives a generic simple reminder, which resembles the usual reminder letter sent by the debt-collector at least once a year to each debtor. There are two treatment conditions. In both of them, a personalized letter is sent from a debt-collector's agent instead of a letter from the debt-collector's company. In one of the conditions the letter is sent and signed by a male agent, in the other one it is the female agent. Hence, the study has a factorial design with two factors: (1) personalization of the message and (2) gender of the debt-collector agent.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
The randomization was done in office by a computer. Blocked randomization was implemented, using information on region, density of the living area, debt amount, debt due age, gender, debtor age and ethnicity on each debtor.
Randomization Unit
Individual
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
2,821 individuals with defaulted consumer debts
Sample size: planned number of observations
2,821 individuals with defaulted consumer debts.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
The control group, which receives generic simple reminder, consists of 1,410 unique debtors.
Personalized letter is sent to 1,411 unique debtors. Within these, 705 individuals receive the message from a female agent and 706 individuals from a male agent.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
In order to reach 2% point average treatment effect of personalization, the total sample must consist of at least 2,092 individuals.
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Ethics Committee at the European University Institute
IRB Approval Date
2016-02-04
IRB Approval Number
N/A
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