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Gender and Microfinance 'Lab-in-the-field' Experiment
Last registered on October 15, 2020


Trial Information
General Information
Gender and Microfinance 'Lab-in-the-field' Experiment
Initial registration date
October 15, 2020
Last updated
October 15, 2020 12:31 PM EDT
Primary Investigator
Meghnad Desai Academy of Economics
Other Primary Investigator(s)
Additional Trial Information
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
While the universal policy of gender targeting in microfinance stems, inter alia, from the conventional wisdom that women are better credit risks, there has been little research on the underlying reasons for it. This study aims to contribute to that research gap by conducting microfinance lab-in-the-field or artefactual field experiments in comparable matrilineal and patrilineal societies in rural India to exploit the natural variation in social norms across these societies.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Mukherjee, Shagata. 2020. "Gender and Microfinance 'Lab-in-the-field' Experiment." AEA RCT Registry. October 15. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.6594-1.0.
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Experimental Details
The intervention is a microfinance 'lab-in-the-field' or artefactual field experiment that is conducted with the matrilineal Khasi society in Meghlaya and two patrilineal societies in the neighbouring states of Assam and West Bengal.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Loan Default
Project Choice
Repayment Choice (Strategic Default)
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Loan default measures whether an individual or a group defaulted on the loans given to them during the microfinance experiment. Project choice indicates whether they invested the loan in the relatively safer or the riskier project during the experiment. Finally, repayment choice (strategic default) indicates whether they repaid or strategically defaulted on their loans if their chosen project was successful in the experiment.
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Amount invested in the lottery
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
The amount invested in the lottery measures the subjects' risk attitudes. The lower the amount invested, the more risk-averse subjects are.
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
The experimental design incorporates two treatments- individual and group liability game treatment. In the individual game, each person receives a loan and decides to invest it between a relatively safer project with a lower return and a riskier project with a higher return. If the chosen project is successful, the individual decides to repay her loan or to default strategically. In the group liability games, two individuals of the same gender are randomly matched and are liable for each other's loans. It means that both group members are liable if any one group member defaults. In the experiment, each group member receives a loan and decides independently to invest it between a relatively safer project and a riskier project, same as that in the individual game. If the project is successful, which is private information to the individual group members, they decide independently to contribute to the group repayment or default strategically. The experimental design also incorporates an investment risk (IR) task. In the IR task, subjects decide how much of their endowment to invest in a lottery that returns three times the amount invested or zero with equal probabilities.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Subjects are randomized into one of the two treatments-individual or group liability game treatment. The randomization was done using a computer.
Randomization Unit
The unit of randomization is a subject who participated in the experiment.
Was the treatment clustered?
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
368 individual subjects
Sample size: planned number of observations
368 individual subjects
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
104 subjects in individual game treatment and 264 subjects in group game treatments. 184 subjects are male and 184 subjects are female. 136 subjects belong to matrilineal society in Meghlaya, 132 subjects belong to patrilineal society in Assam and 100 subjects belong to patrilineal society in West Bengal.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB Name
Institutional Review Board- Georgia State University
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Is the intervention completed?
Intervention Completion Date
May 01, 2016, 12:00 AM +00:00
Is data collection complete?
Data Collection Completion Date
May 01, 2016, 12:00 AM +00:00
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
368 individual subjects. 104 subjects in individual game treatment and 264 subjects in group game treatments.
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
368 individual subjects.
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
104 subjects in individual game treatment and 264 subjects in group game treatments.
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
Program Files
Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials
Relevant Paper(s)