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Do Matching Contributions incentivize informal workers to participate in retirement saving plans? A Randomized Evaluation in Peru
Initial registration date
November 18, 2019
June 04, 2020 3:26 PM EDT
Universidad del Pacífico
Other Primary Investigator(s)
Universidad del Pacífico
University of Maryland
Additional Trial Information
This field experiment analyzes whether a Matching Defined Contribution (MDC) scheme is an effective incentive to increase enrollment and contributions in retirement saving plans. Our intervention involves transferring funds into workers’ pension funds, conditional on their own contributions. The research proposes three pension plans: 100%, 50%, and 0% MDC (subject to a maximum amount) for six months. These plans are offered to informal workers from micro firms located in the city of Lima, Peru, who were not previously enrolled in the pension system.
Bernal, Noelia, Sebastian Galiani and Oswaldo Molina. 2020. "Do Matching Contributions incentivize informal workers to participate in retirement saving plans? A Randomized Evaluation in Peru ." AEA RCT Registry. June 04.
The MDC scheme is applied between three different groups of workers, two of them receive a monthly matching incentive of 100% (full match) or 50% (partial match), and a third one, which is the control group, receives 0% (no match). We match 100% of the contribution or 50% of it up to a monthly maximum amount of USD 42 and six months after enrollment. All groups receive detailed information about the importance of saving for retirement, the peruvian pension system and the benefits of enrolling to the Private Pension System. Since all three groups receive the same kind of information, we are able to estimate the effect of the matching incentive.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes (end points)
1) Enrollment to the Pension Fund
2) Contribution to the Pension Fund.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
1) Enrollment: This is a dummy variable which indicates whether the worker was enrolled to the pension fund. This enrollment can occur right after the sales agent gives the worker the information and explains the saving plan and incentives, or later.
2) Contribution: We have two definitions for this outcome. The first is a dummy variable that indicates if the worker contributed at least once during the treatment period, while the other is a continuous variable indicating the total amount of contributions made by the worker.
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Our unit of analysis are the workers from the micro firms located in Lima. The unit of randomization is the micro firm, since it was the only mean we could use to reach the worker. These firms need to be registered in two administrative databases. After visiting the firms, we found that an important number of them could not be located or were closed, so we excluded them from the analysis. We also had to keep only workers who were not previously enrolled in the pension system. Therefore, our final sample comprises 3,038 workers from 2,770 micro firms and it is representative of the informal workers from micro firms located in Lima, who were not previously enrolled in any pension system. Treatment assignment is as follows: 912 workers in the control group, 1,063 in the 50% matching group and 1,063 in the 100% matching group.
Experimental Design Details
Stratified Randomization done in office by a computer.
Was the treatment clustered?
Sample size: planned number of clusters
2,770 micro firms
Sample size: planned number of observations
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
835 micro firms control, and 968 micro firms in the 50% matching group and 967 micro firms in the 100% matching group.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
We expect that our intervention will have a Minimum Detectable Effect of 0.03612 percentage points on the probability to contribute. This MDE is associated with an overall percentage variance of 14% between treatment and control groups. We assume a significance level of 0.05 and a power of 0.8.
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
Human Subjects Committee for Innovations for Poverty Action IRB
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number