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Learning to trust your banker
Last registered on December 18, 2017


Trial Information
General Information
Learning to trust your banker
Initial registration date
July 06, 2014
Last updated
December 18, 2017 9:04 AM EST
Primary Investigator
NHH - Norwegian School of Economics
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies
Additional Trial Information
On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
A crucial component in the bank-client relationship is trust. Clients do not deposit their savings with a bank that they do not trust. Many countries are currently in the process of pushing their populations to adopt formal bank accounts instead, or in addition to, more traditional forms of savings. A successful move from the informal financial sector to formal banks undoubtedly requires a high level of trust between the people and the banks. In this study, we investigate whether trust can be fostered by increasing financial interactions between clients and bankers.

We use two interventions in 17 villages of Chhattisgarh where formal banking through the Business Correspondent model was recently introduced. First, we sample two groups of people: (A) villagers who deliberately opened a bank account, and (B) villagers who did not. The group B villagers are offered an account. Next, half the villagers of both group A and group B are randomly assigned to the second intervention: they receive weekly payments on their bank accounts. The other half (= control) receive the same amounts in cash.

After 2-3 months of weekly payments, we measure trust levels and altruism towards bankers, as well as risk attitudes, using trust, dictator and risk games in a lab-in-the-field setting. This allows us to answer our research question, namely whether trust can be fostered by promoting the usage of accounts and the interactions between clients and their banker.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Somville, Vincent and Lore Vandewalle. 2017. "Learning to trust your banker." AEA RCT Registry. December 18. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.433-7.0.
Former Citation
Somville, Vincent, Vincent Somville and Lore Vandewalle. 2017. "Learning to trust your banker." AEA RCT Registry. December 18. http://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/433/history/24128.
Experimental Details
detailed in attached pre-plan
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
detailed in attached pre-plan:
behavior in trust-game, triple dictator game and risk game.
the games are played between a banker and his clients.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
detailed in attached pre-plan
Experimental Design Details
We select a random sample of people who opened an account (group A) and a random sample of people who did not. The latter (people without an account) is subject to the first intervention: we give them a bank accountn. After this first treatment, we are left with two groups: A – already had an account, B – received a new account.

We interview these people on a weekly basis during 7 to 13 weeks, as to gather detailed information on the evolution of their household composition and the various earnings and expenditures of their household members. Because those surveys are extremely demanding, each participant is offered INR 150 after each interview.

The second treatment in the experiment is a randomization of the way the weekly compensation is paid. Half of the respondents with a BCSA account receive INR 150 directly on their account (treated), while the others receive it in cash (control).

We now have 4 different groups: Ac had an account and is paid cash, Aa had an account and is paid on it, Bc just received an account and is paid cash, Ba just received an account and is paid on it. The comparison of the groups A and B is crucial to evaluate the importance of the initial self-selection. Most existing studies suffer from the caveat that they only observe impacts on the pool of self-selected individuals (corresponding to our group A). Those impacts may not be representative of what a large scale financial inclusion plan (with accounts opened for everyone) would achieve.

A few weeks after the last payment of Phase 1, we play games in the field to measure risk aversion, trust and altruism between the clients and the banker. The games are described in the attached pre-plan.

Randomization Method
computer - stata
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
17 villages (cluster)
26 individuals per village
stratified by gender
Sample size: planned number of observations
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
26 individuals in 17 villages.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Supporting Documents and Materials

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IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

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Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Is the intervention completed?
Is data collection complete?
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
Program Files
Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials
Relevant Paper(s)