Financial Diaries for Youth: Experimental Evidence from Peru

Last registered on September 03, 2021


Trial Information

General Information

Financial Diaries for Youth: Experimental Evidence from Peru
Initial registration date
September 02, 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
September 03, 2021, 5:31 PM EDT

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



Primary Investigator

Inter-American Development Bank

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Northeastern University
PI Affiliation
Inter-American Development Bank

Additional Trial Information

Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
C93, D90
Prior work
This trial is based on or builds upon one or more prior RCTs.
Advancing youth's financial inclusion requires a better understanding of their financial needs and promoting financial education programs that can endow them with the skills to use financial services effectively. While traditional lecture-based formats have proven effective to deliver financial education in the school setting, there is limited evidence on how to reach out-of-school youth successfully using programs suited for more and more technologically-savvy generations. We study the impact of a mobile app to record daily financial transactions, coupled with enumerator monitoring visits every two weeks, on youth's investment in financial literacy and financial behavior.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Frisancho, Veronica, Alejandro Herrera and Silvia Prina. 2021. "Financial Diaries for Youth: Experimental Evidence from Peru." AEA RCT Registry. September 03.
Sponsors & Partners

There is information in this trial unavailable to the public. Use the button below to request access.

Request Information
Experimental Details


Our bundled treatment consists of a smartphone app to record daily financial transactions and bi-weekly visits from an enumerator. The monitoring visits has four aims. First, enumerators have to verify that all transactions recorded during the previous weeks were stored on the server. Second, the enumerators verify that the net balance of income and expenditures matched the net amount recorded under financial tools. Third, enumerators have to add missing transactions or edit incorrect ones at the users' request. Fourth, the enumerators provide support to solve issues or challenges associated with using the financial app.

The control group receives access to an app to record their daily meals. This app is similar to the financial app and is used to record all meals eaten by the user, classifying them as breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snack. The control group only receives an enumerator visit at the beginning of the intervention period to support participants with installing the app and training them in its usage.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
We measure the impact of the financial diaries app on financial literacy and financial behavior. Financial literacy and financial behavior in the short run are measured relying on survey and exam data. Financial behavior is measured through the probability to keep a budget; a shopping habits index that captures consumer savviness; the degree of knowledge about market prices; and the probability of saving. Sustained changes in financial behavior are measured relying on credit bureau records gathered up to 8 months after the intervention was over. We focus on four variables: the probability to hold outstanding debt, the number of financial institutions with whom an individual contracted a debt, the outstanding debt, and the probability of delinquency.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Shopping index: We use a standardized index to aggregate five variables that capture if the individual: bargains before shopping, compares prices before shopping, does not buy unplanned items, compares prices online, and plans purchases.
Price knowledge: we consider a list of items and asked respondents to give their best price guess in each case. Each respondent scores higher when the price she reports is within the range of minimum and maximum market prices derived from price data coming from two local retailers. The respondent's score is standardized relative to the control group. The probability of saving includes both formal and informal savings.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
The experimental sample in our study consists of graduating students from public secondary schools in Piura, one of the most populated departments in Peru. Our study considers a subsample of 60 public schools in Piura. We target 11th-grade students during the two months before their graduation in 2018. Students are provided with an informed consent form as an initial step to participate in our intervention. The consent provides a generic description of the study but does not provide information on which apps would be assigned to the participant. Since potential participants are mostly legally minors when they are first contacted at school, they are asked to take the consent form home so that their legal guardians can review and provide their signed approval to join the study.

We rank schools according to the quality of internet connectivity in the area, and the number of consents received. Schools are grouped into three strata: 1) areas with high connectivity, independent of the consents received; 2) areas with moderate-low connectivity but with at least one signed consent; and 3) areas with low connectivity and no signed consents. Within each of these strata, we randomize access to the financial app at the school level. Since our intervention depends on smartphone use, we use baseline survey data on smartphone ownership to determine eligibility. The final sample of eligible students consists of 982 students.

Our experiment is overlaid onto the experimental design of a larger randomized controlled trial aiming to evaluate the impact of school-based financial education on high schools students. This larger experiment ran between 2016 and 2018 in Piura and the other five regions in the country.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization at the school level, before participant recruitment, done in office by a computer.
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Recruited participants in control schools receive the meals app while recruited participants in the treated schools receive the financial app. The target sample size of 400 participants is equally divided between control and treatment groups.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number


Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

There is information in this trial unavailable to the public. Use the button below to request access.

Request Information


Is the intervention completed?
Intervention Completion Date
September 17, 2019, 12:00 +00:00
Data Collection Complete
Data Collection Completion Date
September 17, 2019, 12:00 +00:00
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
47 schools
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
390 participants
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
203 participants assigned to the treatment group and the 187 assigned to the control group
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

There is information in this trial unavailable to the public. Use the button below to request access.

Request Information

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials