x

We are happy to announce that all trial registrations will now be issued DOIs (digital object identifiers). For more information, see here.
Technology adoption and performance of rural extension services in Paraguay
Last registered on July 05, 2014

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Technology adoption and performance of rural extension services in Paraguay
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0000415
Initial registration date
July 05, 2014
Last updated
July 05, 2014 12:15 AM EDT
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
UC Berkeley
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
University of Wisconsin
PI Affiliation
UC Berkeley
Additional Trial Information
Status
On going
Start date
2014-02-01
End date
2015-02-28
Secondary IDs
Abstract
We will evaluate a pilot program of the federal government of Paraguay that will issue cell-phones with GPS tracking to agricultural extension agents, with the objective of enhancing the government’s ability to monitor the work these agents put into assisting farmers.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Dal Bó, Ernesto, Frederico Finan and Laura Schechter. 2014. "Technology adoption and performance of rural extension services in Paraguay." AEA RCT Registry. July 05. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.415-1.0
Former Citation
Dal Bó, Ernesto, Frederico Finan and Laura Schechter. 2014. "Technology adoption and performance of rural extension services in Paraguay." AEA RCT Registry. July 05. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/415/history/2064
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
Intervention Start Date
2014-03-01
Intervention End Date
2014-09-30
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
We will measure AEA performance in two different ways. First, we will conduct surveys of farmers. This will yield indicators of agents’ effort and impact, such as the frequency of visits to farmers, the transmission of information to them, farmer satisfaction, productivity, profitability, etc. A second way will be to track farmer participation in subsidy programs.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
The intervention will affect around 180 local technical assistance agencies (ALATs, Agencia Local de Asistencia Técnica), which on average have 4 extension agents (AEAs), each in charge of roughly 100 farm households. These ALATs are then randomly assigned into three groups according to how and when the agents will receive their phones.
The phones will be issued in three waves, each one with a different balance of control ALATs, and fully and partially treated ones, so as to allow identification of performance effects and spillovers.
Experimental Design Details
The focus of the pilot will be on 180 local technical assistance agencies (ALATs, Agencia Local de Asistencia Técnica), which on average have 4 extension agents (AEAs), each in charge of roughly 100 farm households. Some ALATs have a single extension agent, but 46 ALATS have at least 2 agents. We asked the supervisors of the latter group to indicate which half of his agents should receive the phones first, given the program’s objective to increase agent performance. We refer to these agents as the “selected agents.” These ALATS are then randomly assigned into three groups according to how and when the agents will receive their phones. The phones will be issued in three waves. In the first wave, the first group, consisting of half of the ALATs, will not receive phones and will serve as the control group. In the second group, consisting of 25 percent of the ALATs, every agent will receive a phone. In the third group of ALATs, phones will be distributed to the 50% of agents in each ALAT who were selected by their supervisors. In the second wave, agents in group 3 that had not been selected will receive a phone. In the third wave, all remaining agents will be given a phone. This research design will allow us to test several hypotheses on the performance effects of the monitoring technology, as well as on the value of the information of supervisors on what agents it would be best to issue phones to. In addition, by comparing control groups to partially and fully treated groups this design can help identify spillover effects.
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer.
Randomization Unit
Randomization will be performed at the level of the ALAT.
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
180 ALATS (these are "sites", the randomization level). There are clusters within each ALAT, defined by each extension agent.
Sample size: planned number of observations
There are nearly 40,000 farmers, but our surveys will target nearly 5,000 in each wave.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
It varies with treatment arm. From 11 ALATs at the smallest, to 90 at the largest.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
There will be a range, depending on the hypothesis being tested. The most powerful test will involve all 180 sites. Surveying 7 farmers per agent, the test would involve 5,040 observations, yielding minimum detectable size effects around 0.15 at 80% power, given our assumptions on intra-cluster correlation and available covariates. Other tests will be less powerful, however. The least well-powered will rely on comparisons among 30 sites, yielding minimum detectable sizes of around 0.35.
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects - Office for the Protection of Human Subjects - UC Berkeley
IRB Approval Date
2014-04-16
IRB Approval Number
2014-04-6220
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 and Papers
Preliminary Reports
Relevant Papers