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Does matching contributions incentivize informal workers to participate in retirement saving plans and to contribute to them? A randomized evaluation in Peru
Last registered on November 22, 2019

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Does matching contributions incentivize informal workers to participate in retirement saving plans and to contribute to them? A randomized evaluation in Peru
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0003395
Initial registration date
November 18, 2019
Last updated
November 22, 2019 11:11 AM EST
Location(s)

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Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Universidad del Pacífico
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Universidad del Pacífico
PI Affiliation
University of Maryland
Additional Trial Information
Status
In development
Start date
2018-03-01
End date
2020-08-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
The project analyzes whether the matching defined contribution (MDC) scheme is an effective incentive to increase take-up rates and contributions in retirement saving plans. The study focusses on workers from small firms in the Metropolitan area in Lima, Peru, and our intervention involves transferring funds into workers’ pension accounts, 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 products are offered to self-employed workers not enrolled in the pension system. We are interested in evaluating the take-up affiliation rate and contribution rates. Additionally, we analyze if the MDC increases retirement savings among the poor or just displaces non-retirement savings.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Bernal, Noelia, Sebastian Galiani and Oswaldo Molina. 2019. "Does matching contributions incentivize informal workers to participate in retirement saving plans and to contribute to them? A randomized evaluation in Peru." AEA RCT Registry. November 22. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.3395-1.0.
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
The proposed intervention is focused on workers of small firms not enrolled in the pension system. The scheme of the intervention's protocol is: (i) All workers are visited by sales agents who bring information about the pension system and future saving benefits. (ii) Workers decide if they want to participate and to become affiliated with the Pension Fund. (iii) Depending on the treatment group, workers receive a matching defined contribution (MDC) for every monthly contribution they had done, controls do not receive any matching (iv). During the six months of treatment, all workers receive WhatsApp reminders (treated and control groups).
Intervention Start Date
2018-10-30
Intervention End Date
2020-01-30
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
1) The enrollment rate of workers to the Pension Fund.
2) The contribution rate of new affiliates to thePension Fund.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
There are two principal outcomes of interest:
1) The enrollment rate of workers to the Pension Fund: This outcome is directly obtained when a worker decides to affiliate to his Pension Fund; we confirm this information when the Pension Fund verifies worker affiliation in his system.
2) The contribution rate of new affiliates to the Pension Fund: The Pension Fund strictly provides this variable; we are informed about workers who have contributed and how much they had. This rate varies with the new flow of affiliates for each month.
An additional advantage of our study is that we can verify quickly the outcomes and provide a short-term analysis.
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
Each firm is randomly assigned to three groups, two treatment groups, and one control group. All workers from a firm inherit the firm's random treatment. The first treatment group receives information on pension savings and a 100% MDC (subject to a maximum amount) for six months. The second treatment group receives information and a 50% MDC (subject to a maximum amount) for the same period of time. The control group does not get any MDC, but they receive information about how important is to save for retirement.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Stratified Randomization
Randomization Unit
Firm
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
2,181 small firms
Sample size: planned number of observations
3,969 workers
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
727 firms
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
We expect the intervention will get a Minimum Detectable Effect of 0.03612 for contribution rate. In particular, this MDE is associated with an overall percentage variance of 14% between treatment and control groups. The following assumptions are up to date based on our baseline collected in the preliminary pilot from May– June 2018. We are using 1.82 observations per cluster, an inter-cluster correlation of 0.17, and a standard deviation of 0.227. Finally, for these calculations, we assume a significance level of 0.05 and a power of 0.8.
Supporting Documents and Materials

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IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Human Subjects Committee for Innovations for Poverty Action IRB
IRB Approval Date
2017-11-21
IRB Approval Number
14370