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Beliefs About Public Spending and Efficient Expenditures in Public Procurement Officers
Last registered on October 14, 2020

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Beliefs About Public Spending and Efficient Expenditures in Public Procurement Officers
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0006449
Initial registration date
October 13, 2020
Last updated
October 14, 2020 7:18 AM EDT
Location(s)

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Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Universidad de Chile
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
UC Berkeley
PI Affiliation
Universidad de Chile
PI Affiliation
Universidad de Chile
PI Affiliation
Pontifica Universidad Católica de Chile
Additional Trial Information
Status
On going
Start date
2020-01-01
End date
2021-12-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
We design a series of information interventions aimed at highlighting the benefits and costs of efficiency in public spending, as well as reducing frictions in the search for low cost purchases, all with the ultimate objective of changing the institutional culture of efficiency within Public Services and thus reduce overspending in their public purchases. We implement different interventions depending on the level of responsibility within each treated service, i.e. whether the person is the Director of the PS (top-level or principal) or the person is a ``buyer'' (bottom-level or purchasing agent). The interventions consist of a combination of monthly reports with the performance of efficiency in public purchases at the buyer and service levels with new budget rules designed to punish next-year budget of services that incur in large overspending in the previous year. Central to our analysis is the role of beliefs about the benefits/costs of efficiency in public purchases, and the extent to which the top-bottom alignment of beliefs matters to increase the level of efficiency in public procurement.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Celhay, Pablo et al. 2020. "Beliefs About Public Spending and Efficient Expenditures in Public Procurement Officers." AEA RCT Registry. October 14. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.6449-1.0.
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
(see attached PAP for details)
Intervention Start Date
2020-06-01
Intervention End Date
2021-12-31
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
- Overspending
- Beliefs about Overspending
(see the attached PAP for details)
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
(see attached PAP for details)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
(see attached PAP for details)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
(see attached PAP for details)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
The experiment is run in two phases. In phase 1 we implement the $\gamma$ treatments only (see attached PAP for details), which goes from June to December 2020. Then, from January 2021 onward (Phase 2), we introduce the $\mu$ treatment.

Out of 184 services, in phase 1 (June - December 2020) we randomly assign 61 services to T1 (``Public"; 2,887 buyers), 62 services to T2 (``Private"; 2,916 buyers), and 61 services to the control group (2,570 buyers), and we stratify the randomization by ministry (higher-level organization) to which the service belongs, and for whether the suffered suffered a cut on the assigned budget or not in the 6 months before June 2020. Then, in phase 2 (January - December 2021), T1 and T2 groups are informed about the the New Budget Evaluation Rule to be imposed by DIPRES, while Control group is not informed at all. Finally, within T1 and T2 groups, 1/4 of buyers are randomly assigned a placebo message instead of the report, so that we can test for Howthorne effects.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer
Randomization Unit
For $\gamma$ and $\mu$ treatments, the unit of randomization is the service.
For placebo treatment (Howthorne effects), the unit of randomization is the buyer
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
184 services
Sample size: planned number of observations
8373 buyers
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
61 services T1 (2887 buyers)
62 services T2 (2916 buyers)
61 services C (2570 buyers)

Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
see attached PAP for details
Supporting Documents and Materials

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IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Comité de Ética y Bioseguridad para la Investigación de la Facultad de Ciencias Físicas y Matemáticas de la Universidad de Chile
IRB Approval Date
2020-06-11
IRB Approval Number
012
Analysis Plan
Analysis Plan Documents
PAP

MD5: e10b4e182b72f926829df2932c413142

SHA1: bf30b8783c3ba62e050b451bc5b9b47ae2ace654

Uploaded At: October 13, 2020