We will implement a Randomized Controlled Trial whereby we will create business groups across 200 villages in the Indian State of Chhattisgarh, of randomly assigned size: small (4/5 members); medium (8/9 members) and large (14/15 members) groups.
We will recruit approximately 2,000 women in the experiment. In each village under study, women will be invited to attend a smartphone-based business training. Then, based on the treatment arm the village has been randomly assigned to, women will be encouraged to start a production activity (namely, producing soap bars) either in small groups (Treatment 1), medium (Treatment 2) or large groups (Treatment 3). All treatment arms will receive the business training -- in this sense, we will not have a ``pure'' control group to test for the impact of training.\\
Three rounds of socio-economic surveys in the form of structured, individual interviews (approx. 60 minutes long) will be performed at different points in time across approximately 8 weeks: before the training is delivered, and 4 and 8 weeks after the training has been delivered, respectively. This will allow us to causally estimate the effects of the group size on outcomes like women’s productivity, entrepreneurship, and empowerment.\\
The business training will follow a “blended” (in-person + digital) approach. After a first in-person meeting with a trainer that will explain the aims of the business training, including the importance of acquiring business skills for empowerment, a video will be shared with women via their smartphones explaining them how to produce soap bars and encouraging them to engage in a group production. After the in-person training kick-off, women are expected to meet in person with the other members of the training group to produce soap bars.
Once the group are formed and operating for the soap production, the design will also include a cross-randomized intervention to test for information diffusion within a group. Specifically, we will ``seed'' information into groups that might be potentially useful to the households (e.g., consumption goods; financial services; health services and products). We will test whether the information shared in larger groups is more likely to spread and/or to increase consumption / use than in smaller groups.