The economics of reliability in Accra, Ghana

Last registered on January 10, 2023


Trial Information

General Information

The economics of reliability in Accra, Ghana
Initial registration date
October 21, 2019

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
October 22, 2019, 11:15 AM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.

Last updated
January 10, 2023, 9:54 AM EST

Last updated is the most recent time when changes to the trial's registration were published.


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Primary Investigator

University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
University of California at Berkeley
PI Affiliation
Texas A&M University

Additional Trial Information

On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
In urban areas of Ghana, more than 90% of households are already connected to the electric grid. In these settings, the primary issue is the reliability of the grid rather than the lack of access to electricity. Since 2012, persistent power failures in Ghana have negatively affected its economy and given rise to the term “Dumsor,” meaning “lights off-on” in the local Akan language. According to the 2013 World Bank Enterprise Surveys, 61.2% of firms in Ghana see electricity reliability as a major constraint, with firms reporting an average of over 700 hours of outages annually, compared to 1.5 hours for firms in the U.S. We deploy the GridWatch technology and exploit experimental and quasi-random variation in power quality across Accra to understand the costs, benefits, and socio-economic impacts of power quality improvements.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Berkouwer, Susanna, Steven Puller and Catherine Wolfram. 2023. "The economics of reliability in Accra, Ghana." AEA RCT Registry. January 10.
Experimental Details


Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
- Firm productivity measures
- Household well-being measures
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
A combination of:
- Random variation
- Spatial discontinuity design
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer.
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
5000 households and firms.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
University of California at Berkeley
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
CPHS 2017-12-10599