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Spending and debt responses to increased savings
Last registered on June 07, 2018

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
June 07, 2018 1:16 PM EDT
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Columbia Business School
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Texas A&M University
Additional Trial Information
Status
Completed
Start date
2017-11-01
End date
2018-01-31
Secondary IDs
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. 2018. "Spending and debt responses to increased savings." AEA RCT Registry. June 07. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.3047-1.0.
Former Citation
Medina, Paolina, Michaela Pagel and Michaela Pagel. 2018. "Spending and debt responses to increased savings." AEA RCT Registry. June 07. http://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/3047/history/30438.
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
2017-11-01
Intervention End Date
2018-01-31
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 129,949 clients
Sample size: planned number of observations
The control group is 19,984 clients and the treatment group is 153,280 clients. Control group could be increased using existing observational data of other non-treated clients.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
One treatment 173,264 clients in total, 153,280 treated. Control group could be increased using existing observational data of other non-treated 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 the sample size of 153,280 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
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