Digital Credit and Agriculture: A Randomized Experiment in Ghana

Last registered on May 15, 2020


Trial Information

General Information

Digital Credit and Agriculture: A Randomized Experiment in Ghana
Initial registration date
May 10, 2020

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
May 15, 2020, 3:41 PM EDT

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



Primary Investigator


Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
University of Ghana
PI Affiliation
Northwestern University
PI Affiliation
Northwestern University

Additional Trial Information

On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
The success of small-scale farmers in developing countries relies on the availability of adequate financial markets. Binding credit constraints can be an impediment to investment in a setting with high expected returns. We study the impacts of providing credit to small-scale farmers by randomly allocating loans to individual farmers in the context of a randomized experiment in Ghana. Traditional microcredit models have had limited success in agriculture, where low population densities and poor infrastructure makes credit delivery and monitoring costly. We incorporate an emerging alternative technology, digital credit, as an integral part of the loan process. We also combine digital credit with several improvements over traditional models of lending to the poor. Our aim is to contribute both to the understanding of the effects of this nascent technology and to the more established yet growing literature on the impacts of short-term credit in agriculture.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Karlan, Dean et al. 2020. "Digital Credit and Agriculture: A Randomized Experiment in Ghana." AEA RCT Registry. May 15.
Sponsors & Partners



Experimental Details


The context and background details of the intervention are described in the pre-analysis plan.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Binding credit constraints, agricultural investment choices, consumption, effects of economic shocks, measures of overall well-being.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
We detail how each of our outcome measures is constructed the pre-analysis plan. Several of our primary outcomes will consist of multiple indicators. Whenever appropriate, we will adjust for multiple hypothesis testing.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Several measures of agricultural outcomes and non-agricultural economic outcomes for the household.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
We detail each of the outcomes we consider in the pre-analysis plan.

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Farmers are randomly assigned to a treatment and a control arm. This is done after they have applied for and been deemed eligible to receive loans. The application process is completed electronically with the local agent at the village and the credit decision is made within 2-3 days. Farmers in the treated group are eligible to receive the credit product which consists of farming inputs. Farmers can choose across a variety of inputs including inorganic fertilizers, insecticides and herbicides. All farmers, including those in the control group, are eligible to continue using all other services offered by the Farmerline, our partner organization who provides the farming inputs on credit.

All details described in the pre-analysis plan.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization done on a computer software and blinded to all PIs.
Randomization Unit
Individual farmers.
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
1,372 farmers
Sample size: planned number of observations
1,372 farmers
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
917 farmers assigned to treatment group, 455 farmers assigned to control group. Further details in the pre-analysis plan.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
We provide details of power calculations in the pre-analysis plan.

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Innovations for Poverty Action
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

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Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Is the intervention completed?
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials