The Effects of Mobile-Based Information Provision and Peer-Based Information Sharing Channels on Small Firms in India

Last registered on November 01, 2021

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
The Effects of Mobile-Based Information Provision and Peer-Based Information Sharing Channels on Small Firms in India
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0008338
Initial registration date
October 29, 2021
Last updated
November 01, 2021, 12:42 PM EDT

Locations

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Primary Investigator

Affiliation
University of Kent

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
University of Kent
PI Affiliation
University of Kent

Additional Trial Information

Status
On going
Start date
2021-01-01
End date
2022-10-31
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Abstract
COVID-19 and policies to control it have adversely affected the ability of firms (especially small and informal enterprises) to operate and earn revenues. They have also affected their ability to link up and share information with other firms. In order to protect small firms from the negative effects of lockdowns, the central and state governments of India have introduced a number of schemes. One of them is the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS), which makes certain firms eligible to receive an additional top-up loan. Additionally, the government has recently changed its procedures to allow informal firms to register their businesses with the government through a simplified online procedure. We conduct a randomized text-based information intervention on a sample of 1446 small firms in India to test whether providing firms with information on the ECLGS and the new simplified registration process leads to i) increased formalization, ii) increased uptake of ECLGS, and iii) better firm outcomes. In addition, we randomly allocate some firms into Whatsapp Groups, to test whether being part of a small network of similar firms helps to alleviate the adverse circumstances due to the pandemic and its fallout.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Amirapu, Amrit, Irma Clots-Figueras and Bansi Malde. 2021. "The Effects of Mobile-Based Information Provision and Peer-Based Information Sharing Channels on Small Firms in India." AEA RCT Registry. November 01. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.8338-1.0
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
We implemented two interventions. Treatment 1 (T1) involved sending 2 SMS messages with information on the ECGLS scheme and the simplified online business registration process to the sampled business owners. Treatment 2 exogenously grouped together firms into WhatsApp groups of either size 5 or 10, facilitated by a local research assistant, to facilitate organic conversations among business owners on business related issues, COVID support, how they were coping with COVID and COVID control policies and so on.
Intervention Start Date
2021-04-01
Intervention End Date
2021-12-31

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
1) Business registration status (actual and planned)
2) Awareness and take-up of the ECGLS scheme (actual and planned take-up)
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
3) Access to finance generally (i.e. application for loans, take-up of loans, source of loans)
4) Use of loans accessed (for paying suppliers, workers, buying capital, etc)
5) Measures of firm performance (sales, employees, payment of suppliers)
6) Mental health of entrepreneur (self-reported stress and anxiety)
7) Network outcomes (sources of information on Govt support schemes, who they talk to/consult about business related issues; and who they talk to/consult on COVID-19 related challenges including coping with lockdown)
8) Knowledge about COVID vaccination, and vaccination status (including intentions)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
1446 firms from regions all over India are assigned to one of four treatment/control combinations. The treatments are randomised at the firm-level, with the randomization of firms in T2 stratified by language group and T1 status; and that in T1 stratified by firm registration, language group and consent to receive WhatsApp messages and to be placed in groups with similar firms.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer
Randomization Unit
Firm-level
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
1446 firms
Sample size: planned number of observations
1200 firms
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
T1 = 1, T2=1: 254 firms
T1 = 1, T2=0: 470 firms
T1 = 0, T2=1: 253 firms
T1 = 0, T2=0: 470 firms (of which 252 firms consented to be in the WhatsApp groups)
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
IFMR IRB
IRB Approval Date
2021-02-01
IRB Approval Number
IRB00007107; FWA00014616; IORG0005894
Analysis Plan

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