Neuroeconomics for development: Eye-tracking to understand migrant remittances

Last registered on September 08, 2020


Trial Information

General Information

Neuroeconomics for development: Eye-tracking to understand migrant remittances
Initial registration date
September 04, 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
September 08, 2020, 9:37 AM EDT

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



Primary Investigator

Spelman College

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
PI Affiliation
Michigan State University

Additional Trial Information

On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Remittances, i.e., money sent by migrants to family and friends, are a key pillar of economic development. Organizations such as the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the World Bank have thus argued for increased transparency and reduced transaction fees via remittance-comparison platforms, i.e., sites like but for sending money. This project assesses to what extent (1) information provided through such platforms impacts remittance choices, e.g., by breaking habits; (2) information affects the alignment between choices and stated preferences, potentially impacting welfare; and (3) migrants' visual attention (measured through eye-tracking) moderates the relationship between choices, information, and possibly, welfare. In so doing, this project (i) sheds light on potential reasons for why take-up of comparison platforms has remained low and (ii) contributes to a growing literature on behavioral development. While the data for this project have been collected, they have not been analyzed. So, the purpose of this registration is to discuss (1) how the study was designed/implemented and (2) what analysis will be done (see enclosed pre-analysis plan). Departures from the planned analysis will be identified as part of the research paper and/or a populated pre-analysis plan (Duflo et al. 2020).
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Nakasone, Eduardo, Maximo Torero and Angelino Viceisza. 2020. "Neuroeconomics for development: Eye-tracking to understand migrant remittances." AEA RCT Registry. September 08.
Sponsors & Partners


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Experimental Details


1. NGO personnel recruited potential participants who had to meet the following criteria: (A) be older than 18; (B) have sent remittances at least four times in the past year to El Salvador, Guatemala, or Honduras; (C) be able to read and use a computer; and (D) not wear bifocal glasses (for purposes of eye-tracking).

2. Participants gave informed consent, were assigned a study ID, and completed a pre-survey (see Docs & Materials).

3. Each participant reviewed three webpages containing attributes of 10-11 money-transfer operators (MTOs) such as Western Union and MoneyGram (more under Experimental Design). These webpages were offline variants of a World Bank-certified comparison platform. Participants had five minutes to review each page and choose the MTO with which they wanted to send $100 or $300 (randomly determined) to El Salvador, Guatemala, or Honduras (also see step 5). While reviewing webpages and making decisions, participants' eyes were tracked. As part of the experiment instructions, participants were asked not to move back and forth once the eye-tracker had been calibrated, in order to safeguard accuracy of the data.

4. A subset of the participants completed a short post-survey (see Docs & Materials).

5. Participants were paid $50 in cash for completing the study. In addition, one in eight participants won a lottery in which $100 or $300 were sent by means of one of the MTOs chosen in step 3. This increased the chance that decisions made in the study were given careful consideration, as tends to be the case in the day-to-day environment. Lottery winners were notified by phone after the study and asked to confirm the contact information for their preferred recipient in the country of origin. After the money was sent, they were provided with a confirmation number so the recipient could claim the funds.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
The primary outcome is a participant's choice of MTO on a given results page.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
We are also interested in (i) the extent to which a participant chooses the same MTO across all three results pages; (ii) the extent to which a participant's typical choice of MTO (elicited in the pre-survey) is the same as what is chosen in (i); (iii) different measures of visual attendance; and (iv) their interactions.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
(i) and (ii) are derivatives of the primary outcome, e.g., they will be measured as a dummy for whether or not choices meet such conditions. (iii) will be constructed based on eye-tracking data. (iv) will be based on (i)-(iii). See the pre-analysis plan for additional details on these two outcome measures.

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
The experimental design comprised two main treatments: Group A and Group B. Both groups saw three webpages (as explained under Intervention).

The first page was the same across groups. It contained the following attributes for each MTO: the name and logo; the exchange rate, transaction fee, and thus, amount that would arrive; and whether the funds would arrive as a deposit or in cash for pick-up or home delivery.

The second page is where Groups A and B differed. If the participant was in Group A, page 2 added how long the money would take to arrive (i.e., the delivery speed) to page 1. If the participant was in Group B, page 2 added customer reviews instead.

Finally, the third page added customer reviews to page 2 if the participant was in Group A and delivery speed if the participant was in Group B. So, while Groups A and B were the same again by page 3, the order in which additional information had been presented varied.

Assignment to Group A or B was random, since odd study IDs were assigned to A and even IDs were assigned to B.

Participants were also randomly assigned to (i) stakes of $100 or $300 (as referenced previously) and (ii) three possible versions of webpages, which varied in terms of the order of the MTOs and the MTO that had a 50 percent price discount.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
The randomization was done in office by a computer.
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
394 individuals. Also see next item.
Sample size: planned number of observations
In the NSF proposal, we proposed 400 individuals. We actually ended up with 394 individuals.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
There are four treatments: A-$100, A-$300, B-$100, and B-$300.

The 394 individuals should be distributed as follows across these treatments: 115, 77, 115, and 77. This is because there was a 50-50 chance of being assigned to A versus B and a 60-40 chance of being assigned to $100 versus $300. The exact sample size per treatment will be verified once the data are analyzed.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
As mentioned previously, in the NSF proposal, we committed to a sample size of 400 migrants. This number was not based on ex ante power calculations for the following reasons. First, the NSF gave a maximum award budget. Considering subject payments, implementation, and other budget categories, we thus committed to a sample of 400 participants across 6 potential between-subject treatments. Second, given the plan to collect the outcomes of interest (in particular, visual attendance) in the field from a sample of migrants with relatively little education and income, there were no reliable priors for assessing possible effect sizes. Third, compared to several studies that use eye-tracking data, N=400 was a relatively large sample. When analyzing the data, we will conduct ex post power analysis along the lines of Maniadis et al (AER, 2014).
Supporting Documents and Materials


Document Name
Document Type
Document Description
These are the post-survey questions in English.

MD5: a932cad274f3b78e39d3a3919fb01071

SHA1: f74bc562150740d899bc733523e29ca7ea393a00

Uploaded At: August 22, 2020

Document Name
Document Type
Document Description
These are the pre-survey questions in Spanish.

MD5: 172c77fd0f389d436c37b9320bd89b97

SHA1: 7ad4b2eb9ce4658108f767c6511502a03d883a03

Uploaded At: August 22, 2020

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Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Spelman College IRB
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

Analysis Plan Documents

Neuroeconomics for development: Eye-tracking to understand migrant remittances

MD5: 464a43e8a28431c711fbb458b4eaec48

SHA1: c0bdde83e07919c670a438fe125cb1b7ffc25766

Uploaded At: September 04, 2020


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