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Replication of Village Savings and Loans Groups in Africa
Last registered on May 04, 2021


Trial Information
General Information
Replication of Village Savings and Loans Groups in Africa
Initial registration date
May 03, 2021
Last updated
May 04, 2021 6:39 AM EDT
Primary Investigator
University of Georgia
Other Primary Investigator(s)
Additional Trial Information
In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
This pre-registry outlines pre-specified hypotheses for analyzing data collected from the study “Replication of Village Savings and Loans Groups in Africa.” The primary research question is to examine the factors that influence the quality and quantity of replication of Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLA’s). We plan to test the implications of social and individual identity-based motivation training on replication quality and quantity Differences between social motivation and the control group as well as the difference between the individual motivation and control group will be tested. By studying replication and examining treatments designed to increase replication, NGO’s can have more accurate estimations of their impact and reach as well as learn how to help motivate groups to replicate thereby expanding their global impact. Data collection is scheduled to take place in Mchinji and Kasungu, Malawi from July 2021-December 2022 and is expected to be expanded into Tanzania.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Ramey, Rachel. 2021. "Replication of Village Savings and Loans Groups in Africa." AEA RCT Registry. May 04. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.7421-1.0.
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
For the Replication Motivation Training Experiment, the primary outcomes relate to the quantity and quality of replicated VSLA groups created by each VSLA that received replication training.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
We explain how we will construct each outcome variable in detail in our pre-analysis plan document.
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
Our research focuses on members of Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLA’s) in Malawi and Tanzania. These are local community groups created to promote savings. We examine the long-term effects of motivational replication training on the replication rates and quality of VSLA groups in an emerging market setting.

We will use a train-the-trainer model. Village Agents (VA’s) are responsible for creating VSLA groups and train them with modules about savings practices and how to operate a VSLA. We will add an additional module to the training that VA’s give their VSLA’s. The new module focuses on teaching VSLA groups how to replicate and will include either social or individual identity motivation for the treatment groups. The control group will receive a placebo training module about an unrelated topic.

All VA’s for the region will be recruited and invited to a training session to be taught how to administer the new replication module as well as how to count replication. They will be randomly assigned to one of three treatment arms determining the type of training they will receive to give to their VSLA group. The three treatment arms are 1) social motivation, 2) individual motivation, and 3) placebo training.
The VA's will then take their modules to their VSLA's and train the VSLA's. 3rd party enumerators will collect data on manipulation checks and measures of intention to replicate at the VSLA replication training and 3-4 weeks after the training.

We will use messaging reinforcement of the concepts in the replication module to send to the VSLA group members throughout the year. When the VLSA groups share out (this will be on different schedules based on their cycle length and creation date, but we expect a large concentration of them to be at the end of the year (November 2021), some are expected to form their own replicated groups or expected to encourage their friends, family, and acquaintances to form new groups. We will count and measure the quality of these replicated groups to determine the effectiveness of social and individual motivation for self-replication.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
For the VA training we randomly assign VA’s to one of the three treatment arms in office by a computer.
Randomization Unit
VA Level
Was the treatment clustered?
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
100 VA’s are in the region and we will invite all of them to the additional training using the intention to treat method.
Sample size: planned number of observations
Observations are at the VSLA level. For data collection, replication will be counted for all VSLA groups (745+) and in depth surveys will be conducted on a random sample of 3 VSLA’s per VA for a total of 300 VSLA’s
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
There will be 33 VA’s per treatment arm, and the VSLA’s supervised by each VA will be the observations for each treatment arm. VA’s are expected, on average to supervise 10 VSLA’s each.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
See pre-analysis plan.
IRB Name
University of Georgia Institutional Review Board
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

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