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Credit to address seasonal poverty when migration income is lumpy
Initial registration date
June 08, 2020
June 09, 2020 12:04 PM EDT
Other Primary Investigator(s)
Additional Trial Information
In addition to chronic poverty, many rural households in developing countries face seasonal changes in living standards with acute periods of 'seasonal poverty' throughout the year. The most well-documented causes of seasonal poverty are tied to seasonality in agricultural production. This study evaluates a program aimed at alleviating seasonal poverty in a setting with another potentially large driver of seasonality: variation in the timing of remittance income. The data comes from a sample of rural households in the western plains of Nepal, where the majority of households engage in temporary migration within Nepal or to India, and remittances make up a substantial fraction of rural incomes. In partnership with a local NGO, we offer interest-free loans to farming and migrating households during the agricultural ‘lean season’, to be repaid after the harvest. Our experiment randomly varies access to this seasonal loan program both at the village level and at the household level within villages.
Households are offered the opportunity to take out an interest-free loan during the agricultural 'lean season' to be repaid after the rice harvest. Loans can be any of four amounts: 2,500 , 5,000, 7,500, or 10,000 Nepali Rupees. Participating households receive the loan in August of 2019, and repay in up to two installments in November 2019 and January 2020.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes (end points)
(a) An ICW index of six food insecurity questions adapted from the USAID Household Food Insecurity Access Scale.
2. Subjective Well-being: An ICW index of five questions on subjective-wellbeing:
(a) Happiness (reverse-coded)
(d) Sleep Quality
(e) Life Satisfaction (reverse coded)
3. Agricultural investment
(a) Total value of fertilizer applied in the second half of the lean season.
(b) Total value of pesticides applied during the second half of the lean season
(c) Total spent on farm labor during harvest.
(d) Total agricultural investment during the growing and harvest seasons,
measured as the sum of the above measures a-c.
(e) Total hours worked by adults in the household on own farm during the lean and harvest seasons.
4. Labor Allocation
(a) Hours per week on household agriculture
(b) Hours per week on wage work (reverse coded)
(c) ICW index of the above two measures of labor supply
5. Agricultural Production
(a) Kilograms of rice harvested
(b) Estimated months rice will last
(c) Natural log of rice yield
(d) ICW index of (a-c)
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
This study utilizes two sources of randomization. First, we randomly assigned half of our villages to receive the program and half of our villages into a pure control group, stratifying on ward. Second, our NGO partner held public lotteries in each program village where half of all lottery participants became eligible for the loan.
Experimental Design Details
Village-level randomization was done using Stata. Household-level randomization within villages was done via a public lottery administered by our NGO partner.
Village-level and household-level randomization.
Was the treatment clustered?
Sample size: planned number of clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
42 villages control, 48 villages treatment.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
Yale University Institutional Review Board
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number