Promoting adoption of digital financial services in refugee and host communities through social networks.

Last registered on June 26, 2022


Trial Information

General Information

Promoting adoption of digital financial services in refugee and host communities through social networks.
Initial registration date
June 24, 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
June 26, 2022, 5:28 AM EDT

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



Primary Investigator

International Food Policy Research Institute

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
World Bank
PI Affiliation
International Food Policy Research Institute
PI Affiliation
International Food Policy Research Institute
PI Affiliation
Dadimos Development Consultants
PI Affiliation
International Food Policy Research Institute

Additional Trial Information

On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
This study examines whether social networks can be used to engage under-represented populations in to enroll in digital financial services among refugee and surrounding host communities in Ethiopia. Partnering with a local service provider, study participantswe will be invited current users of a digital financial service to refer of community members that might be interested in registering for the services. Participants Current users will be randomly assigned to either receive one of three different reward levels for successful enrollmentsrewards (with referral reward amounts , varying by gender of the new enrollees) or to be in a , and a control group that receives no referral rewards. The following subsequent analysis will assess whether this type of referral scheme is an effective and cost-effective approach to enrolling new customers, particularly among difficult to reach demographic groups that are underrepresented in this context: women and refugees.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

de Brauw, Alan et al. 2022. "Promoting adoption of digital financial services in refugee and host communities through social networks. ." AEA RCT Registry. June 26.
Experimental Details


See abstract above.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
o Primary: Referrer Level, Measures of New Referred Enrollees, successfully referred enrollees (compared across treatments ): All are based on administrative data from the digital financial service provider.
1. Number of successfully referrals/referred enrollees
2. Average/total number of transactions among successfully referralsreferred enrollees
3. Average/total value of transactions among successfully referred enrollees referrals
4. Number of men/women among successfully referred enrollees
5. Number of refugees/hosts among successfully referred enrollees
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
-> Self-reported measures (self-reported from endline)
- Number of times discussed digital financial services
- Number of times recommended digital financial services
- Own usage of services (from administrative data)
- Number of transactions using platform
- Value of transactions using platform
- Referrals made (not necessarily completed) by each community referrer
- Usage of advanced DFS services (borrowing, transfers)
-> Household outcomes (self-reported from endline)
- Household savings (all sources)
-Household income
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
o Partnering with a local microfinance institution (MFI), the research team will use the MFI’s existing client data to select 800 of their top digital financial service (DFS) users to invite into the study. These individuals were selected to ensure equal sample sizes of refugees vs. host community members, of men vs. women, and within the two areas where the program operates.
o After these 800 current users agree to participate in the study and complete a baseline phone survey, they will be encouraged to make referrals of others in their community who they think would be interested in enrolling in free DFS with the MFI. Two options for making these referrals will be set up by the research team (a digital option and a call center), with referred individuals’ contact information passed to the MFI for follow-up.
o The 800 current users will be randomly assigned to one of four groups. All four groups will be contacted, thanked for being among best customers, and offered the option to refer others who the MFI will then facilitate enrollment for. The treatment groups will additionally be offered different rewards for successfully referred enrollees, where reward amounts will depend on the gender of each newly enrolled referral. In particular, 200 current users will be assigned to each group:
- Control Group: No rewards for referrals
- Treatment Reward Group 1: 25 Birr for men, 25 Birr for women
- Treatment Reward Group 2: 25 Birr for men, 50 Birr for women
- Treatment Reward Group 3: 50 Birr for men, 50 Birr for women
o The above listed randomization across treatment and control groups will be stratified by gender, refugee vs. host status, region, and baseline service usage.
o Over the first two weeks, all study participants will be texted messages that remind them of how to make referrals; in the case of treatment groups, messages will also remind them of the rewards they will receive for successfully referred enrollees.
o Follow-up data collection will be conducted using a phone survey, with the full set of original users included in the baseline. In addition, a random sample of new enrollees – both those who were registered through the referral system as well as others who registered on their own from the same regions over the same time period– will be chosen to provide household-level information in a single interview conducted at the same time.

Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Within each strata, for the community referrers we put observations into groups of four, and then randomized within each of those groups (one to each treatment arm) by computer.
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
800 community referrers into the four treatment arms.
Sample size: planned number of observations
We will largely rely on administrative data for outcomes as above; the endline survey will include up to those 800 observations as well as up to 800 observations on referred individuals (though we will also have administrative data on their outcomes)
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
200 referrers in each treatment arm
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
International Food Policy Research Institute
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number


Post Trial Information

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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