Non-payment and strategic enforcement: Experimental evidence from Indian electricity

Last registered on December 27, 2021

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Non-payment and strategic enforcement: Experimental evidence from Indian electricity
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0008742
Initial registration date
December 24, 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
December 27, 2021, 11:06 PM EST

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

Locations

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

Request Information

Primary Investigator

Affiliation
University of Chicago

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
University of Chicago

Additional Trial Information

Status
On going
Start date
2021-11-01
End date
2023-12-27
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Abstract
State revenue collection is challenging in developing-country settings, which in turn reduces the ability of the state to provide public goods. Electricity is a key sector facing substantial revenue challenges. Frequent bill non-payment leads utilities to provide low-quality power supply, including imposing regular blackouts (Burgess et al 2020). In this project, we are working with two state utilities in Madhya Pradesh, India to measure the effectiveness of and design an optimal targeting strategy for enforcement. We randomize 30,000 households into a control group and a variety of enforcement treatments, informed by the public finance literature on tax payments (e.g. De Neve et al 2021), ranging from SMS reminders to disconnections. We plan to compute direct effects of these treatments on bill payments and electricity consumption. We will also estimate treatment effect heterogeneity. To consider optimal targeting from the household's perspective, we will conduct an endline survey to measure household finances, consumption, psychological well-being, and other measures, in order to consider optimal targeting from the household's perspective.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Burlig, Fiona and Anant Sudarshan. 2021. "Non-payment and strategic enforcement: Experimental evidence from Indian electricity." AEA RCT Registry. December 27. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.8742
Sponsors & Partners

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

Request Information
Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
30,000 households with a record of unpaid electricity bills will be randomly assigned to a control group or a series of utility enforcement treatments starting in December 2021.
Intervention Start Date
2021-12-27
Intervention End Date
2022-06-27

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Electricity consumption, bill payment, arrears, re-connection to the grid (if applicable). Endline survey outcomes to be added prior to fielding the survey.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
See our attached PDF PAP for more details.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
We perform a stratified randomization where we randomly assign 30,000 households to the treatments described above. We are collecting administrative data from the utility on electricity consumption, bill payments, and connection status. We conducted a baseline survey in November-December 2021, and plan to conduct an endline survey in summer 2022 to examine impacts on additional outcomes such as household finances, consumption, and mental health.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Stratified randomization done in Stata
Randomization Unit
Household
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
30,000 households
Sample size: planned number of observations
30,000 households
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
7,500 households pure control. 2,500 households business as usual control. 5,000 households SMS reminder. 5,000 households SMS social comparison. 5,000 households mailed disconnection notice. 2,500 households in-person disconnection notice with no follow-up. 2,500 households in-person disconnection notice with subsequent disconnection.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Supporting Documents and Materials

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

Request Information
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
University of Chicago IRB
IRB Approval Date
2021-02-19
IRB Approval Number
IRB20-2127
Analysis Plan

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

Request Information