x

We are happy to announce that all trial registrations will now be issued DOIs (digital object identifiers). For more information, see here.
Commitment Savings Products in the Philippines
Last registered on August 04, 2016

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Commitment Savings Products in the Philippines
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0000045
Initial registration date
September 16, 2013
Last updated
August 04, 2016 4:51 PM EDT
Location(s)
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Northwestern University
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Harvard Business School
PI Affiliation
Boston University
Additional Trial Information
Status
Completed
Start date
2003-06-01
End date
2007-12-01
Secondary IDs
Abstract
We designed a commitment savings product for a Philippine bank and implemented it using a randomized control methodology. The savings product was intended for individuals who want to commit now to restrict access to their savings, and who were sophisticated enough to engage in such a mechanism. We conducted a baseline survey on 1777 existing or former clients of a bank. One month later, we offered the commitment product to a randomly chosen subset of 710 clients; 202 (28.4%) accepted the offer and opened the account. In the baseline survey, we asked hypothetical time discounting questions. Women who exhibited a lower discount rate for future relative to current trade-offs, and hence potentially have a preference for commitment, were indeed significantly more likely to open the commitment savings account. After twelve months, average savings balances increased by 81 percentage points for those clients assigned to the treatment group relative to those assigned to the control group. We conclude that the savings response represents a lasting change in savings, and not merely a short-term response to a new product.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Ashraf, Nava, Dean Karlan and Wesley Yin. 2016. "Commitment Savings Products in the Philippines." AEA RCT Registry. August 04. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.45-3.0.
Former Citation
Ashraf, Nava, Dean Karlan and Wesley Yin. 2016. "Commitment Savings Products in the Philippines." AEA RCT Registry. August 04. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/45/history/9946.
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
The Green Bank of Caraga, along with researchers, designed and implemented a commitment savings product called a SEED (Save, Earn, Enjoy Deposits) account. The SEED account provided individuals with a commitment to restrict access to their savings, thus potentially helping with either self-control or family-control issues. Each individual defined either a goal date or amount, and was subsequently unable to withdraw from the account until the goal was reached. Other than providing a possible commitment savings device, no further benefit accrued to individuals with this account: the interest rate paid on the SEED account was identical to the interest paid on a normal savings account (4 percent per annum).

Researchers trained a team of marketers hired by the partnering bank to visit the homes or businesses of existing bank clients in the commitment-treatment group, to stress the importance of savings to them. This process included eliciting the clients’ motivations for savings, and emphasizing to the client that even small amounts of saving make a difference; marketers then offered them the SEED product. Another group of individuals (the marketing-treatment group) received the exact same marketing script, but were not expressly offered the SEED product.
Intervention Start Date
2003-08-01
Intervention End Date
2004-08-01
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
savings balances, household decisionmaking power, household expenditures (see two papers from the project, in QJE and World Development)
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
for the main paper, see: http://karlan.yale.edu/p/SEED.pdf

for women empowerment: see World Development paper, or working paper here: http://karlan.yale.edu/p/Female_Empowerment_v15.pdf
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
The sample for the field experiment consisted of 4001 adult Green Bank clients who had a savings account in one of two bank branches in the great Butuan City area, and who had identifiable addresses. These individuals were randomly assigned to three groups: commitment-treatment (T), marketing-treatment (M), and control (C) group. One-half of the sample was randomly assigned to T, and a quarter of the same each were randomly assigned to groups M and C.

A second randomization was conducted to select clients to interview for the baseline household survey.

Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
randomization done in office by a computer
Randomization Unit
individual
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
1771 individuals
Sample size: planned number of observations
1777 individuals
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
1777 individuals, split into commitment savings treatment, marketing treatment and control group
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Princeton University (note date may be off)
IRB Approval Date
2003-06-01
IRB Approval Number
prior university, not in my records
Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
Yes
Intervention Completion Date
August 01, 2004, 12:00 AM +00:00
Is data collection complete?
Yes
Data Collection Completion Date
August 01, 2004, 12:00 AM +00:00
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
Reports and Papers
Preliminary Reports
Relevant Papers
Abstract
We designed a commitment savings product for a Philippine bank and implemented it using a randomized control methodology. The savings product was intended for individuals who want to commit now to restrict access to their savings, and who were sophisticated enough to engage in such a mechanism. We conducted a baseline survey on 1777 existing or former clients of a bank. One month later, we offered the commitment product to a randomly chosen subset of 710 clients; 202 (28.4 percent) accepted the offer and opened the account. In the baseline survey, we asked hypothetical time discounting questions. Women who exhibited a lower discount rate for future relative to current trade-offs, and hence potentially have a preference for commitment, were indeed significantly more likely to open the commitment savings account. Mter twelve months, average savings balances increased by 81 percentage points for those clients assigned to the treatment group relative to those assigned to the control group. We conclude that the savings response represents a lasting change in savings, and not merely a short-term response to a new product.
Citation
Ashraf, Nava, Dean Karlan, and Wesley Yin. 2006. "Tying Odysseus to the Mast: Evidence from a Commitment Savings Product in the Philippines." The Quarterly Journal of Economics 121(2): 635-72.