Household Electrification and Labor Supply: Experimental Evidence from El Salvador
Last registered on April 02, 2020

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Household Electrification and Labor Supply: Experimental Evidence from El Salvador
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0005535
Initial registration date
March 31, 2020
Last updated
April 02, 2020 12:16 PM EDT
Location(s)
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Universidad del Pacifico
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
FAO
Additional Trial Information
Status
Completed
Start date
2009-11-01
End date
2014-12-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
We study the adoption and effects of household electrification in northern El Salvador. We generated household-level exogenous variation in connection cost by offering time-limited subsidies towards a $100 fee that had to be paid by households who wanted to connect to the grid. Vouchers increased grid connection which, in turn, increased female nonfarm employment, home business operation, and earnings. These effects persist four years after baseline. Male outcomes were largely unaffected. We feed the experimental results into an intertemporal choice model and find a parameter of present bias of 0.75, suggesting quasi-hyperbolic discounting as an additional barrier to electricity adoption.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Barron, Manuel and Maximo Torero. 2020. "Household Electrification and Labor Supply: Experimental Evidence from El Salvador." AEA RCT Registry. April 02. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.5535-1.0.
Sponsors & Partners

There are documents in this trial unavailable to the public. Use the button below to request access to this information.

Request Information
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
The study took place during a grid extension and intensification program in northern El Salvador, designed to be rolled-out in three phases according to construction costs and accessibility. The study design is described in detail in Barron and Torero (2017). In this program, the El Salvadorian government covered all the installation costs up to the electric meter, and households had to pay for their internal wiring and a US$ 100 fee for a safety certification.

The experimental sample consists of 550 off-grid households located in subdistricts that were scheduled to be covered by the program during its first year. We generated experimental variation in the connection cost by offering discount vouchers to a randomly selected subsample. We randomly allocated 200 low-discount vouchers (20% discount), 200 high-discount vouchers (50% discount), and left the remainder households as control group (N=150).

Vouchers were valid for a discount towards the safety certification to be reimbursed after paying the full cost. Each voucher showed the name and address of the beneficiary, it was non-transferable, and it was valid for nine months. Selected households received the discount vouchers a few weeks after the baseline survey, in a separate visit by personnel from a local NGO not linked to the survey or our enumerators.

To prevent the control group from delaying their adoption decisions because they expected to receive a discount voucher in the future, the field staff was explicit in explaining to voucher recipients that all existing vouchers had already been assigned to households. Voucher recipients followed the same procedure as the general public when applying for a grid connection, taking their receipt to the NGO for reimbursements. Hence, neither inspectors nor the electric company had reasons to prioritize voucher recipients.
Intervention Start Date
2009-11-01
Intervention End Date
2013-12-31
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Labor supply, participation in nonfarm employment, operation of home business, income; by gender.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Labor variables are indicators of participation, income is measured in US dollars.
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Time allocation, appliance ownership
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Time allocation is measured in minutes of the day. Appliance ownership variables indicate if households own: blender, computer, DVD player, fan, fridge, iron, microwave, radio, sewing machine, stereo, TV, washing machine.
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
200 Randomly selected households received $50 discount vouchers
200 Randomly selected households received $20 discount vouchers
150 Randomly selected households received no vouchers
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer
Randomization Unit
Household
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
550 households
Sample size: planned number of observations
550 households x 5 yearly surveys
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
200 households in each treatment arm, 150 households in the control group
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
Yes
Intervention Completion Date
December 31, 2014, 12:00 AM +00:00
Is data collection complete?
Yes
Data Collection Completion Date
December 31, 2013, 12:00 AM +00:00
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
494 household
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
No
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
494 households
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
134 households control, 178 households in low-discount, 182 households in high-discount.
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
No
Program Files
Program Files
No
Reports and Papers
Preliminary Reports
Relevant Papers