Learning versus Signaling in the Workplace: Evidence from the Adoption of Commitment Savings Accounts

Last registered on October 19, 2015

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Learning versus Signaling in the Workplace: Evidence from the Adoption of Commitment Savings Accounts
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0000913
Initial registration date
October 19, 2015

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
October 19, 2015, 11:26 PM EDT

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

Locations

Region

Primary Investigator

Affiliation
World Bank

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
World Bank
PI Affiliation
Columbia University GSB

Additional Trial Information

Status
In development
Start date
2015-10-12
End date
2016-06-30
Secondary IDs
Abstract
While an increasing number of low-income households in developing countries has access to a formal bank account, there are many barriers that prevent households from accessing a wider range of welfare-enhancing financial products and services. Although technically “banked”, these individuals often find the formal financial sector daunting and complicated and fail to actively engage with it. As a result, they are not able to fully utilize the facilities it offers and more importantly, they are unable to use the formal financial sector as a mechanism to meet their financial goals. In this project, we examine how workers learn about a new financial product being offered as an add-on to a basic salary account and examine the mechanisms that drive the adoption decision. We partner with a leading bank in Bangladesh and offer a simple "Deposit Pension Savings" (DPS) product to salaried workers in the garment sector in Bangladesh who already have an electronic payroll account. Workers are given the option to enroll in the DPS plan and commit to having a fixed savings amount debited from their monthly salary. We vary the conditions under which the product is presented to eligible workers and study to what extent the adoption decision is driven by learning about the product versus the desire on the worker's part to convey information to the employer.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
, , Martin Kanz and Leora Klapper. 2015. "Learning versus Signaling in the Workplace: Evidence from the Adoption of Commitment Savings Accounts." AEA RCT Registry. October 19. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.913
Former Citation
, , Martin Kanz and Leora Klapper. 2015. "Learning versus Signaling in the Workplace: Evidence from the Adoption of Commitment Savings Accounts." AEA RCT Registry. October 19. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/913/history/5643
Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
We work with a leading bank in Bangladesh to offer a DPS commitment savings product to garment workers that already receive their monthly salary into an electronic payroll account. Workers are given detailed information about the product and have the opportunity to sign up for a DPS account. If they do so, they can choose an amount to be debited from their monthly salary and deposited into their savings account.

The intervention varies the conditions under which workers are offered the product. All workers in the treatment groups receive a detailed presentation of the product terms and characteristics and complete a short survey at the end of the information sessions. The main intervention consists of two additional features that are added to the product presentations for randomly chosen subgroups of workers: (1) an endorsement of the product from the employer, delivered by a floor manager (2) an announcement that feedback about the sign-up decision will be provided to the employer.

The intervention is set-up as a simple 2x2 design with the following treatment groups:

1. Control [No offer]

2. T1: No employer endorsement + no feedback to employer [Basic offer]
3. T2: No employer endorsement + feedback to employer
4. T3: Employer endorsement + no feedback to employer
5. T4: Employer endorsement + feedback to employer

We compare take-up rates under these experimental conditions to examine to what extent the take-up decision is driven by (i) information about the product versus (ii) employer endorsement (information from a credible source) versus (iii) feedback to the employer i.e. the ability to signal to the employer. Using data on personal characteristics, we will also examine whether the take-up decision varies systematically by worker characteristics across the treatment groups.

Intervention Start Date
2015-10-19
Intervention End Date
2016-06-30

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
The main outcome of interest is the take-up decision.

All workers in the treatment groups will be asked after the product presentation whether they wish to sign up for the product ("yes" or "no"). For consumer protection reasons, workers will also be given the option to make a decision within two days of the presentation, in which case we record both the initial response and the final take-up decision.

We will also examine heterogeneity in take-up by personal characteristics, collected in a short baseline survey and from proprietary data on worker productivity supplied by the factories participating in the experiment. The baseline survey also collects phone numbers of respondents so that (conditional on worker and employer consent) we can collect follow-up information on actual amounts saved and impacts on worker outcomes 3-6 months after the intervention.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
The intervention is set-up as a simple 2x2 design with the following treatment groups:

1. Control [No offer]

2. T1: No employer endorsement + no feedback to employer [Basic offer]
3. T2: No employer endorsement + feedback to employer
4. T3: Employer endorsement + no feedback to employer
5. T4: Employer endorsement + feedback to employer
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
The randomization was conducted using a computer random number generator.
Randomization Unit
We randomize at the level of the individual worker and stratify by location in the factory, income category and gender.
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
NA
Sample size: planned number of observations
2,000 workers to receive offer (conditional on employer permission)
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
400*5 (conditional on employer permission)
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Columbia University
IRB Approval Date
2015-10-18
IRB Approval Number
IRB-AAAP8601

Post-Trial

Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Intervention

Is the intervention completed?
No
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?
No

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials