Spending and debt responses to increased savings

Last registered on October 17, 2021

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Spending and debt responses to increased savings
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0003047
Initial registration date
June 06, 2018
Last updated
October 17, 2021, 12:20 PM EDT

Locations

Region

Primary Investigator

Affiliation
Columbia Business School

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Texas A&M University

Additional Trial Information

Status
Completed
Start date
2019-09-01
End date
2019-12-31
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Abstract
This project will study the changes in transactional volume of credit and debit cards when individuals increase their saving balances in a checking account. Specifically, we plan to study what are the spending categories that experience the larger decreases or increases in transactional volume, after increases in saving balances in checking accounts. We will also test whether individuals borrow more or not because they increase the balances in their checking accounts.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Medina, Paolina and Michaela Pagel. 2021. "Spending and debt responses to increased savings." AEA RCT Registry. October 17. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.3047-1.3000000000000003
Former Citation
Medina, Paolina, Michaela Pagel and Michaela Pagel. 2021. "Spending and debt responses to increased savings." AEA RCT Registry. October 17. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/3047/history/101897
Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
The period of analysis will cover a time during which the partner company performed a program evaluation of different methods to encourage their clients to increase their saving balances in checking accounts. The program evaluation consisted of sending text messages encouraging savings to a randomly selected set of clients. The messages were sent either via cell phone or on ATM screens. This type of program evaluation is part of the usual operations of the company, as they routinely communicate marketing campaigns to their users through their cell phones, or via ATM screens, and they routinely test the effectiveness of different versions of these messages with randomly selected groups of clients.
The analysis performed by the partner institution concluded that the messages increased the average checking account balance of the group of clients that received the messages. This evaluation took place in the end of 2017, before researchers and the partner company had any interaction. The researchers were not involved in any form in the planning, implementation, or analysis of the evaluation.
Intervention Start Date
2019-09-01
Intervention End Date
2019-12-31

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Credit card and debit card transactions and balances
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
The data used in the analysis will contain all credit card and debit card transactions performed by the clients of the partner company during the period of analysis. Each transaction will contain a transaction category, a string description of the transaction, the date of the transaction, as well as the value of the transaction. The dataset will also contain balances on different types of credits, as well as binary variables indicating if a given user received the message encouraging savings or not.
• For each transaction: String description of the transaction, date, and value of the transaction, masked account identifies, and masked client identifier.
• For each account: Balances at the end of each month or billing cycle, interest paid or received at the end of each month or billing cycle, product characteristics (interest rate and maturity of the loan), masked account identifier, and masked client identifier.
• For each client: Latest credit score, indicator variable indicating if user received message, gender, age, estimated income, age of credit history, masked client identifier.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
The period of analysis will cover a time during which the partner company performed a program evaluation of different methods to encourage their clients to increase their saving balances in checking accounts. The program evaluation consisted of sending text messages encouraging savings to a randomly selected set of clients. The messages were sent either via cell phone or on ATM screens. This type of program evaluation is part of the usual operations of the company, as they routinely communicate marketing campaigns to their users through their cell phones, or via ATM screens, and they routinely test the effectiveness of different versions of these messages with randomly selected groups of clients.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
By computer.
Randomization Unit
Client id
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
One treatment with control on 3,054,438 customers (374,893 control)
Sample size: planned number of observations
The treatment group is 3,054,438 clients and the control group is 374,893 clients
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
The treatment group is 3,054,438 clients and the control group is 374,893 clients
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
We consider the deviation from normalized monthly spending, savings, and balances, which have (upper bound) an across-clients standard deviation of 70%, then a sample size of 150,000 treated clients, will enable us to detect a 0.5 percent deviation, with 79.9% statistical power (rule-of-thumb value is 80%) and a 5% alpha error.
Supporting Documents and Materials

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IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

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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