The impact of informational nudges on saving: Evidence from Romania

Last registered on September 17, 2021

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
The impact of informational nudges on saving: Evidence from Romania
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0008247
Initial registration date
September 16, 2021
Last updated
September 17, 2021, 2:49 PM EDT

Locations

Region

Primary Investigator

Affiliation
University of New South Wales

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi

Additional Trial Information

Status
Completed
Start date
2017-11-01
End date
2018-03-31
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Abstract
We implemented a randomized experiment in Romania to elucidate how messages, including general reminders and peer information, impact saving in an upper-middle income setting. We randomly selected 540 farmers from a rural region of Romania to participate in our study. Each participant was presented with an offer to join our experimental home-savings account and informed that after three months, the research team would revisit to observe the total accumulated savings and pay one percent interest on the balance. At baseline, all participants were asked whether they would like to set a savings goal and if so, how much they wished to save over the following months. In addition, participants were randomized into three groups. In the first group, participants received a general text message reminder to save. In a second group, participants received the general reminder and were also informed of the average savings goals of their peers. In a third, control group, participants received no text messages. Baseline was conducted in November 2017 and endline was conducted in March 2018. At endline, we measured and paid interest on the total savings in the experimental account. In our analysis, we compare savings outcomes across the three messaging treatment groups and conduct a heterogeneity analysis across the savings goal indicated at baseline.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Andries, Alin and Sarah Walker. 2021. "The impact of informational nudges on saving: Evidence from Romania." AEA RCT Registry. September 17. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.8247-1.0
Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
We randomly selected 540 farmers from a rural region of Romania to participate in our study. Each participant was presented with an offer to join our experimental home-savings account and informed that after three months, the research team would revisit to observe the total accumulated savings and pay one percent interest on the balance. At baseline, all participants were asked whether they would like to set a savings goal and if so, how much they wished to save over the following months. In addition, participants were randomized into three groups. In the first group, participants received a general text message reminder to save. In a second group, participants received the general reminder and were also informed of the average savings goals of their peers. In a third, control group, participants received no text messages.
Intervention Start Date
2017-11-01
Intervention End Date
2018-03-31

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
1) Whether the participant saved in the experimental account; and 2) how much the participant saved.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
1) Dummy variable equal to 1 if the participant saved in the experimental account; 2) inverse hyperbolic sine of total savings (in Romanian Lei).

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
We randomly selected 540 farmers from a rural region of Romania to participate in our study. Each participant was presented with an offer to join our experimental home-savings account and informed that after three months, the research team would revisit to observe the total accumulated savings and pay one percent interest on the balance. At baseline, all participants were asked whether they would like to set a savings goal and if so, how much they wished to save over the following months. In addition, participants were randomized into three groups. In the first group, participants received a general text message reminder to save. In a second group, participants received the general reminder and were also informed of the average savings goals of their peers. In a third, control group, participants received no text messages.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
All randomizations were done in an office by a computer.
Randomization Unit
Individual level randomization, stratified by location. The sample of 540 farmers were randomly selected from a sample frame of farmers who were enrolled in a European Union program to support rural agriculture. First, we selected a random sample of localities (called comuna) to ensure balance across particular geographic and historical factors. From a total of 41 comuna that met our geographic criteria, we randomly selected 27 for the experiment. Within each comuna, we then randomly selected 20 farmers to invite to the experiment, for a total target of 540 participants.
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
No clusters.
Sample size: planned number of observations
540.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
180 in control group; 180 in general reminder group; 180 in peer information group.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
MDE for saving in the experimental account is: 0.145 percentage points for any treatment x savings goal; 0.189 percentage points for general reminder x savings goal; 0.197 for peer information x savings goal.
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
University of New South Wales Human Research Ethics Advisory Panel F: Australian School of Business
IRB Approval Date
2016-08-26
IRB Approval Number
HC16684

Post-Trial

Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Intervention

Is the intervention completed?
Yes
Intervention Completion Date
March 31, 2018, 12:00 +00:00
Data Collection Complete
Yes
Data Collection Completion Date
March 31, 2018, 12:00 +00:00
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
N/A
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
No
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
503
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
169 in control group; 167 in general reminder treatment group; 167 in peer information treatment group.
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?
No

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials