Services Timeline Revision RCT

Last registered on November 18, 2022


Trial Information

General Information

Services Timeline Revision RCT
Initial registration date
November 14, 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
November 18, 2022, 12:36 PM EST

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



Primary Investigator

Michigan State University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Indian School of Business
PI Affiliation
University of California, Berkeley

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Service provision by governments is often delayed in developing countries. On one hand, the government's capacity is constrained by lack of resources. On the other hand, it is often argued that government officers do not perform optimally with given resources. To address these issues, the state government in India. The existing Act mandates bureaucratic officials to deliver the services within a specified duration, a violation of which can incur a penalty. Using a randomized controlled trial, we evaluate an intervention where the time provided by the pre-existing Act to government officials to deliver citizen services is shortened. We measure officials' performance using administrative data and citizen surveys.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Barnwal, Prabhat, Aaditya Dar and Aprajit Mahajan. 2022. "Services Timeline Revision RCT." AEA RCT Registry. November 18.
Experimental Details


The government provides many services to citizens, from which we shortlisted high-volume services for our study. Such services include Residence Certificates, Income Certificates, Caste Certificates, Correction in Birth Certificates, etc.
In this intervention, the main treatment is to reduce the mandated timelines for government officials to deliver the services to citizens. Citizen applications in the control group services will continue to operate with the status quo deadlines.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Process Days: the number of business days taken to process citizen applications (administrative data).
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Citizen Satisfaction: We will measure citizen satisfaction using primary surveys.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Selection of services: We began by selecting top 80 services (by volume of application issued in the time period January-December 2021) as processed in the government’s e-services portal. After deliberations with the government, we then dropped services that were not exclusively processed on the said portal (some could be offline as well). Further we dropped services that had mandated deadlines of less than 5 days. From amongst the new list, we selected the top 36 services (by volume of applications issued in the time period January-December 2021).
Randomization: Our final sample consists of 36 services that are delivered by 6 different government departments. We randomize these services into treatment and control stratified by departments.
Intervention: For a given service in the treatment group, we select the number of days it takes for 75% (or 60%, depending on which one is larger and is less than the designated deadline) of applications to get processed as their official deadline.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization is done in office using the statistical software package Stata
Randomization Unit
Citizen Services
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
36 services
Sample size: planned number of observations
~650,000 applications (3 month estimate based on monthly average volume of application processed in January-December 2021)
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
18 services control, 18 services treatment
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Process Days (business days): We estimate the power in our design using baseline data from January to December 2021. Considering empirical specifications including controls and clustering the standard errors at the service level, this experiment is sufficiently powered to detect a treatment effect of 1.6 days (mean process days: ~10 days). Delays: We estimate the power in our design using baseline data from January to December 2021. Considering empirical specifications including controls and clustering the standard errors at the service level, this experiment is sufficiently powered to detect a treatment effect of 4% (mean percentage delays: ~14%).

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Michigan State University
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