Measuring Risk and Time Preferences Among the Urban Poor in Saudi Arabia

Last registered on April 14, 2022


Trial Information

General Information

Measuring Risk and Time Preferences Among the Urban Poor in Saudi Arabia
Initial registration date
March 08, 2022

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
April 14, 2022, 11:50 AM EDT

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


Primary Investigator

Prince Mohammad bin Fahd University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
University of Saskatchewan
PI Affiliation
Leibniz University of Hannover

Additional Trial Information

Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
This study is the first empirical research exploring the behavioral aspects of poverty in Saudi Arabia. For this purpose we conducted a lab-in-the field experiment, based on Tanaka et al. (2010), to measure risk and time preferences among Saudi nationals living in the poor neighborhoods of Dammam. In addition, participants completed a detailed survey to measure their socioeconomic characteristics. The natural variation in household characteristics served as control conditions in the study. In total, 166 respondents took part in both the household survey and the lab-in-the-field experiment.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Al Lily, Miriam, Sabine Liebenehm and Hermann Waibel. 2022. "Measuring Risk and Time Preferences Among the Urban Poor in Saudi Arabia ." AEA RCT Registry. April 14.
Experimental Details


Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
The risk and time preference parameters of poor urban households in Dammam
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
This study is based on a socio-economic household survey conducted with 496 households randomly selected from poor neighborhoods across the city of Dammam and an incentivized lab-in-the-field experiment conducted with a random subsample of 166 respondents.

The design of the lab-in-the-field experiment to elicit risk and time preferences is based on Tanaka et al. (2010) and has been applied by other studies, such as those conducted by Nguyen (2011), Liebenehm and Waibel (2014), and Ackert et al. (2020). More specifically, the lab-in-the-field experiment consisted of two parts: one to elicit participants’ risk preferences, and one to elicit their time preferences. Both parts were programmed in Survey Solutions, a software solution developed by the World Bank for computer-assisted interviews ( In the risk experiment, participants made 35 choices between a risky and a less risky lottery. The probabilities of the lotteries were illustrated on the tablet with two colored balls. To further help participants to visualize the decision, interviewers showed participants an actual bag with different colored balls at the beginning of the experiment. The first 28 choices included only positive payoffs. The last seven choices also included negative payoffs to measure participants’ loss aversion. However, since participants received a fixed payment for taking part in the household survey, the possibility that participants suffered any overall loss for taking part in the experiment was excluded for ethical reasons. After completing the risk experiment, the time experiment was carried out. In the time experiment, participants were asked to make 75 choices between receiving a smaller amount today or a larger amount at various times in the future. After respondents had completed both experiments, 1 of the 110 choices was randomly selected, and the participant received a monetary reward according to the decision they had made.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
The selection of the urban poor household sample in the city of Dammam followed a two-step procedure. In the first step, with the help of insider knowledge from charity organizations, we identified nine neighborhoods with a relatively high share of poor Saudi households. All the poor neighborhoods were located in central Dammam and were often referred to by the local community as “the old neighborhoods.” In the second step, we determined the dwellings within those nine neighborhoods through satellite image data and randomly marked every 10th dwelling to be interviewed. Since the study focused on Saudi nationals, dwellings occupied by foreigners were excluded. In total, 496 Saudi households were interviewed. The estimated baseline population in the nine neighborhoods was approximately 60,000 households or 300,000 people, of which 20,000 were Saudi households (130,000 people) and the remainder were foreign households.

In order to select participants for the lab-in-the-field experiment, we randomly selected every third household that was interviewed in the household survey. Hence, our analytical sample consists of 166 households that took part in both the household survey and the experiment. The household characteristics that we obtained from the household survey were used as control conditions in the study, whereas the experiment was used to measure households risk and time preferences.
Randomization Unit
Household Head
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
166 household heads that participated in both the household survey and the lab-in-the-field experiment
Sample size: planned number of observations
18,260 observation (110 choices per household head)
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
The sample size consist of 166 household heads and all household heads took part in the same experiment. However, due to the natural variation in the study area, some households were poor and others non-poor. In total, there were 58 poor and 108 non-poor households.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Supporting Documents and Materials

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Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Prince Mohammad bin Fahd University
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number


Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Is the intervention completed?
Data Collection Complete
Data Collection Completion Date
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials