Savings groups in rural Peru

Last registered on November 21, 2021


Trial Information

General Information

Savings groups in rural Peru
Initial registration date
November 19, 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
November 21, 2021, 5:19 PM EST

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

Additional Trial Information

Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
This study evaluates the effectiveness of VSLAs in improving households' well-being, and tests if the model contributes to borrowers' progression up the lending ladder and graduation into access to credit from formal financial institutions. Relying on a clustered randomized control trial, we evaluate the impact of the introduction of savings groups on poverty, risk-coping strategies, and access to credit from other lenders in rural Peru.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Frisancho, Veronica and Martin Valdivia. 2021. "Savings groups in rural Peru." AEA RCT Registry. November 21.
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Experimental Details


We introduce the savings group model in rural Peru. Savings groups, also known as self-help groups or VSLAs, are associations created with the common goal of gradually accumulating savings that can be used as capital to meet the financial needs of their members. They establish a mechanism of self-selection and social pressure for the fulfillment of savings commitments and loan repayment. Each savings group is set up as a civic association with ten to thirty members from the same community. The group meets regularly to make savings contributions that are put together into a common fund. This fund is then used to support the economic activities and needs of their members through loans that pay an interest rate and thus provide a return on savings. The operating rules require that all the funds collected should be completely lent out to members of the group at all times. The financial profit generated through lending is proportionally distributed at the end of each year depending on the individual level of savings.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Households' exposure to shocks, expenditures, wealth, dwelling characteristics, and participation in productive agricultural and non-agricultural activities are all measured relying on survey data. Additionally, the survey also offers information to construct variables such as the probability of saving; the level of financial literacy; and the size and nature of the respondent's key information network. In turn, variables measuring access to credit from other lenders are obtained from credit bureau records. Both survey-based and credit bureau-based outcomes are measured after two years of exposure to the intervention.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Randomization was stratified by roll-out round and district. For each round, we first randomized the treatment at the village level a hundred times and measured the differences across control and treatment groups in terms of their pre-program characteristics. Using census data, we construct village-level variables such as the presence of a health center or a school of any educational level near the location, total population, percentage of households with adequate drainage service, percentage of households with electric lighting provided through a public network, and literacy rate. We randomly chose one of the randomization trials among those that did not generate significant differences across groups.

The expansion of the program in treatment villages was deployed in three rounds, between September 2014 and January 2017. The number of savings groups grew exponentially within this period and then remained flat once PRIDER moved on to other areas. By January 2017, 171 savings groups with a total of 2,176 members were working in 120 treatment villages. That is, 1.4 savings groups were created in each treatment village with an average size of 12.7 members.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
260 villages
Sample size: planned number of observations
2300 households
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
130 villages in control and 130 villages in treatment
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

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Is the intervention completed?
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials