Savings intervention for small business owners

Last registered on August 30, 2018


Trial Information

General Information

Savings intervention for small business owners
Initial registration date
August 28, 2018

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
August 30, 2018, 2:57 AM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.



Primary Investigator

DIW Berlin

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
DIW Berlin
PI Affiliation
DIW Berlin

Additional Trial Information

On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
We conduct an intervention designed to increase savings for small business owners in Kampala, Uganda. Many business owners in developing countries are saving constrained. Interventions are typically designed to increase savings by providing access to bank account or other ways to physically store money. In contrast, we build on a behavioral approach and combine strategies for pursuing goals with strategies of planning out one’s goal pursuit. During our intervention participants set business savings goals and reflect about why they want to reach these goals. Following this, they make specific plans on how to reach these. They fill out a calendar with specific amounts of money and specific date on which they want to save to reach this goal. Following this, participants are encouraged to think about obstacles that may stop them from saving as planned. They are further encouraged to think about ways to overcome these obstacles. The control group is given a similar calendar, but are not prompted to fill this calendar. The baseline questionnaire and the intervention were conducted in April/May 2018, the follow-up survey takes place in September/October 2018.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Grohmann, Antonia, Lukas Menkhoff and Helke Seitz. 2018. "Savings intervention for small business owners." AEA RCT Registry. August 30.
Former Citation
Grohmann, Antonia, Lukas Menkhoff and Helke Seitz. 2018. "Savings intervention for small business owners." AEA RCT Registry. August 30.
Experimental Details


We visit entrepreneurs in their business and help them form a business related savings goal and specify a concrete saving amount. This savings goal is noted down at the top of a poster that also shows a calendar. The entrepreneur is further encouraged to form a specific plan i.e. how much money he/she would like to save on a specific day for the next 6 months. The amounts are written into the calendar. At the bottom of the poster we ask participants to think about obstacles to their savings goals. Following this, we encourage them to think about how they will behave if such an obstacle arises. Participates are encouraged to put the poster containing the calendar on the wall of their business or at home. The control group is given a poster that contains a calendar only. Participants are not encouraged to write on the posters or to think about savings specifically. The baseline questionnaire and the intervention were conducted in April/May 2018, the follow-up survey takes place in September/October 2018.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
1. Saves (binary)- did people save
2. Total Saving amount
3. Savings amount for business
4. Savings amount for general purposes
5. Frequency of saving
6. Savings regarding savings goal
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
1. Investment in business
2. Business Costs
3. Borrowing
4. Perceptions of the saving goal
5. Business Practices and Financial Awareness

We will perform heterogeneity and sensitivity analysis relevant for the specific sample
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
The intervention builds on a survey of micro and small enterprises (MSEs) collected by the German Institute of Global and Area Studies (GIGA) and the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) in Uganda.
We randomized business owners into treatment and control groups based on the October 2017 wave of the survey. To assign treatment groups, we separated the sample into strata based on business sectors. The treatment assignment was done using STATA. The baseline survey for this treatment was collected in April 2018.
Treatment group: This group received the calendar with the savings intervention. Working through the calendar takes about 15 minutes. There are 249 participants in this group.
Control group: The control groups is given a calendar only without being prompted to think or plan any savings. The calendar is being framed as a present for participating in the survey. There are 252 people in this group.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization was done by business sector using STATA
Randomization Unit
Randomization was done on the business level
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
No cluster
Sample size: planned number of observations
501 business owners
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Treatment: 249
Control: 252
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Cohens’d: 0.2508

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number


Post Trial Information

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Is the intervention completed?
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials