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Family Networks and the Digital Divide: Experimental Evidence on Mobile Banking Adoption in Bangladesh
Last registered on April 14, 2020

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Family Networks and the Digital Divide: Experimental Evidence on Mobile Banking Adoption in Bangladesh
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0005722
Initial registration date
April 14, 2020
Last updated
April 14, 2020 12:28 PM EDT
Location(s)
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
World Bank
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Florida International University
PI Affiliation
UCLA
PI Affiliation
New York University
Additional Trial Information
Status
On going
Start date
2014-09-01
End date
2020-04-30
Secondary IDs
Abstract
Like much digital technology, mobile banking is characterized by network externalities. It is most valuable when employers, shops, family, and friends are also part of the network. Adoption patterns are thus shaped by how and where the technology is supplied and marketed. We investigate the role of network externalities and implications for gender gaps in technology adoption through a randomized experiment on the choice to adopt the bKash mobile banking service in Bangladesh. We experimentally vary decision contexts for urban migrant workers and their rural-based families, the two main nodes in their networks. In the first treatment, we randomly select some of the rural families to be trained on the technology before we begin training sessions for their relatives who work in Dhaka. These migrants thus make adoption choices with the ability to know that their originating families are already familiar with mobile banking (and may have already adopted). In the second treatment we randomize whether the marketing of bKash is pro-family: we prompted migrants with information that their originating families had expressed general interest in adoption. Both interventions increased adoption rates relative to individualistic interventions, on average by 5.1 percentage points (measured imprecisely, s.e.=5.0), but the interventions have different and highly gendered impacts. When female migrants are visited after their originating families, adoption of mobile money increased by 18.7 percentage points on average (s.e.=9.5), with no comparable effects for male migrants. When migrants received the pro-social marketing treatment, adoption rates by males increased by over 11.4 percentage points (s.e.=5.1), but not for women. The results show that network effects matter within family networks and shape patterns of inclusion, and that thematically similar interventions can have different implications for patterns of technology adoption.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Lee, Jean et al. 2020. "Family Networks and the Digital Divide: Experimental Evidence on Mobile Banking Adoption in Bangladesh." AEA RCT Registry. April 14. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.5722-1.0.
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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
We investigate demand for mobile banking and the importance of family networks through a randomized experiment on the choice to adopt the bKash mobile banking service in Bangladesh. We build from a larger experiment that measured the impact of access to
mobile banking on social and economic outcomes for domestic migrants and their families (Lee et al. 2020). The larger study used an encouragement design in which households were randomly assigned to receive a short training session on how to enroll in and use bKash, as well as receiving basic assistance with the enrollment process. Lee et al. 2020 fi nd that enrollment in bKash led to reductions in poverty, increases in consumption, greater savings, reduced borrowing, and greater subsequent outmigration for work.

In the present study, we report on a related experiment which addresses the role of family networks directly. In one treatment, we randomly assign a sample of migrants to receive training and marketing about bKash before their originating families in the rural northwest were introduced to bKash. Another sample of migrants receive training and marketing after their originating families. When this second group of migrants made their choices, they had the possibility of knowing whether their families had also decided to adopt or not. We can thus measure whether migrants' adoption choices were influenced by variation in how exposed their broader families were to the technology. In a related treatment, we randomly varied whether potential customers received a "profamily" marketing message or an individualistic marketing message in order to explore the impact of increasing the salience of the family on adoption decisions. Random assignment to the second treatment was orthogonal to the first treatment.
Intervention Start Date
2015-04-01
Intervention End Date
2015-05-09
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Adoption of bKash mobile money service
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Active use of bKash accounts at one year, savings
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
In the present study, we report on a related experiment which addresses the role of family networks directly. In one treatment, we randomly assign a sample of migrants to receive training and marketing about bKash before their originating families in the rural northwest were introduced to bKash. Another sample of migrants receive training and marketing after their originating families. When this second group of migrants made their choices, they had the possibility of knowing whether their families had also decided to adopt or not. We can thus measure whether migrants' adoption choices were influenced by variation in how exposed their broader families were to the technology. In a related treatment, we randomly varied whether potential customers received a "profamily" marketing message or an individualistic marketing message in order to explore the impact of increasing the salience of the family on adoption decisions. Random assignment to the second treatment was orthogonal to the first treatment.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer (min-max t-stat)
Randomization Unit
Household-migrant pair
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
412 household-migrant pairs
Sample size: planned number of observations
412 household-migrant pairs
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
216 migrants individual treatment, 197 pro-family treatment
197 migrants visited after household, 216 migrants visited before
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
New York University UCAIHS
IRB Approval Date
2014-07-31
IRB Approval Number
14-10097
Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
No
Is data collection complete?
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
No
Program Files
Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials
Relevant Paper(s)
REPORTS & OTHER MATERIALS