Increasing savings among low-income individuals in Uganda

Last registered on April 15, 2021


Trial Information

General Information

Increasing savings among low-income individuals in Uganda
Initial registration date
April 14, 2021

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
April 15, 2021, 6:20 AM EDT

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

Last updated
April 15, 2021, 1:03 PM EDT

Last updated is the most recent time when changes to the trial's registration were published.


Primary Investigator

Harvard Kennedy School

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
FINCA International

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Savings have been shown to reduce vulnerability and allow investments in human and physical capital that are needed to escape poverty. Yet saving rates in developing countries are very low. This begs the question of how to increase savings among low-income individuals. In this experiment in all regions of Uganda, we test two interventions against a "bare account" benchmark: first, savings "coaching" by phone and SMS, and second, the promise of a savings-driven loan conditional on regular savings. Outcomes include savings activity and savings balances, and progress towards clients' personal saving goals.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Smits, Joeri and Anahit Tevosyan. 2021. "Increasing savings among low-income individuals in Uganda." AEA RCT Registry. April 15.
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Experimental Details


Two interventions are tested against a "bare account" benchmark: first, coaching by phone and SMS, and second, the promise of a savings-driven loan conditional on regular savings.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Savings frequency,
Account activity,
Savings balance,
Savings stability
Progress towards savings goal
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Use of channels: digital/mobile vs. in-branch/teller
If endline can be done: personal income and expenditure
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
New clients are randomized to either savings coaching (phone calls and SMS), a savings-driven loan that is offered conditional on demonstrating regular savings. Randomization is stratified on gender, age, and income level.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization is done by a computer, in the ODK software.
Randomization Unit
Household (1 individual per household)
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
1,600 individuals.
Sample size: planned number of observations
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
533 control, 533 coaching, 533 savings-driven loan
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
The minimum detectible effect size for comparing a treatment (either coaching or savings-driven loan) against the control group, with 80% power, and a statistical significance level of 0.05, is 0.17 standard deviations.

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Mildmay Uganda Research Ethics Comittee (MUREC)
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
REC REF 1003-2021