Understanding smallholder arbitrage in Kenyan maize markets
Last registered on September 06, 2013

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Understanding smallholder arbitrage in Kenyan maize markets
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0000067
Initial registration date
September 06, 2013
Last updated
September 06, 2013 7:20 PM EDT
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
University of California - Berkeley
Other Primary Investigator(s)
Additional Trial Information
Status
On going
Start date
2012-08-01
End date
2014-08-15
Secondary IDs
Abstract
Rural grain markets throughout much of the developing world are characterized by large, regular seasonal price fluctuations. Farmer behavior in light of these fluctuations is often puzzling: the vast majority appear to sell their produce when prices are low, buy when prices are high, or often both. This behavior appears to persist despite farmers’ general recognition of these price patterns, and the availability of a simple technology - storage - which can be used to move grain intertemporally.

Why don’t farmers use storage to take better advantage of these seasonal price fluctuations? Working with 1589 smallholder maize farmers and an NGO implementing partner in Webuye District in Western Kenya, we designed and implemented an experiment to test two hypotheses: (1) farmers are liquidity constrained and thus sell their maize at low post-harvest prices because they need the cash, and (2) farmers’ friends and family make frequent claims on stored maize, reducing the incentive to store.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Burke, Marshall. 2013. "Understanding smallholder arbitrage in Kenyan maize markets." AEA RCT Registry. September 06. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/67/history/312
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
Intervention Start Date
2012-10-01
Intervention End Date
2013-08-15
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
maize inventories, maize prices paid and received, maize revenues, and consumption expenditure
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
Farmers were divided into two main treatment groups (an October loan group and a January loan group), and a control group.
Experimental Design Details
See pre-analysis plan.
Randomization Method
Randomization was done in office by a computer
Randomization Unit
farmer groups
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
240 groups, of 6-8 farmers each
Sample size: planned number of observations
1589 total farmers
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
80 groups in C, 77 in T1, 75 in T2
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
UC Berkeley Committee for Protection of Human Subjects
IRB Approval Date
2012-06-07
IRB Approval Number
2010-06-1696
Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
No
Is data collection complete?
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
No
Program Files
Program Files
Reports and Papers
Preliminary Reports
Relevant Papers