Coronavirus (COVID-19) Small Business Government Relief Takeup Project
Last registered on April 02, 2020

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Small Business Government Relief Takeup Project
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0005626
Initial registration date
March 31, 2020
Last updated
April 02, 2020 12:16 PM EDT
Location(s)

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Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Princeton University
Other Primary Investigator(s)
Additional Trial Information
Status
In development
Start date
2020-03-27
End date
2020-12-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
Many small businesses have already been deeply affected by the COVID-19 crisis, leading them to lay off employees, temporarily close shop, or go out of business completely. In response, governments have passed specific provisions to help support small businesses as part of large aid packages. However, we document in a baseline survey that many small businesses may not understand who is eligible for aid, what the aid is available or how to apply. This project evaluates the roles of information frictions on small businesses’ utilization of newly available government assistance. To begin, we survey small businesses in the United States and Latin America about how they have been affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Next in the first round of the pilot outreach program, we randomly assign small businesses to informational interventions with different levels of intensity. Businesses will then be followed-up to see if they successfully applied for aid, and how the aid affected layoffs and expectations of going out of business. Using the experimental design, we will study the role of information frictions on differences in applying for aid by firm size, and how that aid affects business survival. The more effective measures will then be scaled up if any are found to be cost-effective.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Neilson, Christopher. 2020. "Coronavirus (COVID-19) Small Business Government Relief Takeup Project." AEA RCT Registry. April 02. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.5626-1.0.
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
We survey small businesses in the United States and Latin America about how they have been affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Next, we randomly assign small businesses to different informational interventions with different levels of intensity. Businesses will then be followed-up to see if they successfully applied for aid, and how the aid affected layoffs and expectations of going out of business. Using the experimental design, we will study the role of information frictions on differences in applying for aid by firm size, and how that aid affects business survival. The more effective measures will then be scaled up in a second-round if any are found to be cost-effective.
Intervention Start Date
2020-04-08
Intervention End Date
2020-05-31
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Take up of government aid, layoffs, and firm survival.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
The main outcomes are the number of workers laid off. These will be determined using a followup survey.
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Whether the firm applied for aid. These will be determined using a followup survey.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Whether the firm has filed for bankruptcy or gone out of business. These will be determined using a followup survey.
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
Small businesses are recruited through a baseline survey conducted through social media. A random subsample is chosen to be assigned to treatment "intense assistance", another is assigned to "intermediate assistance", and the last group will be kept as control.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
The sample is stratified by country, state, size of the firm, prior stated beliefs and layoffs at baseline. Randomization will be done by a computer.
Randomization Unit
The firm.
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
5000 firms
Sample size: planned number of observations
5000 firms
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
1666 firms as control, 1666 firms receive the information in a one on one conversation, 1666 firms receive the information through e-mail.
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