Do anonymous ratings build trust in mobile money agents? Evidence from Kenya and Uganda

Last registered on March 29, 2022


Trial Information

General Information

Do anonymous ratings build trust in mobile money agents? Evidence from Kenya and Uganda
Initial registration date
March 29, 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
March 29, 2022, 3:38 PM EDT

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


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

Request Information

Primary Investigator

UC Berkeley

Other Primary Investigator(s)

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Agent fraud harms mobile money systems through 1) a direct effect on defrauded consumers; and 2) an indirect effect where fear of fraud restricts usage and willingness to test new agents (Garz et al 2020). This pilot study addresses the latter effect through a lab study with mobile money consumers in Kenya and Uganda. It explores whether users, particularly women and older people, are willing to pay more to transact with agents they know and trust. It also tests whether anonymous customer ratings increase consumer willingness to visit unknown agents, and how this effect differs from the benchmark of referrals from a publicly-identified, known recommender. Finally, the study explores whether social stigmas about being scammed restrict public info sharing about fraudulent agents, which may help explain why fraudulent players are not competed out of the market. This project addresses a critical gap in our understanding of consumer preferences for public and non-public customer reviews, and tests a potential market-based solution to the growing problem of agent fraud.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Macdonald, Isabel. 2022. "Do anonymous ratings build trust in mobile money agents? Evidence from Kenya and Uganda ." AEA RCT Registry. March 29.
Experimental Details


The intervention consists of a one-hour lab study with a real world activity in which subjects collect a bonus from real nearby mobile money agents.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Selection of known versus unknown agent; amount entrusted in the trust game; disclosure of personal experience with mobile money fraud
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Heterogeneity in primary outcomes by age, gender, and prior mobile money experience
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Prior mobile money experience: number of agents visited, frequency of use, whether they can use without support, experience with other apps that utilize 5-star rating system

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Subjects are randomized into different treatments in the lab study.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Computer (programmed automatically into survey)
Randomization Unit
There are several elements of randomization:
1. Session level randomization of private or public reveal around experience with mobile money fraud
2. Random pairing of partners for trust game
3. Individual level randomization of ratings provided in trust game and agent selection activity
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
60 sessions
Sample size: planned number of observations
1,250 (500 Uganda, 750 Kenya)
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Public/private reveal (session level): 30 sessions each treatment
Information treatment (individual level): 178 subjects per 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