Promoting use of digital financial services with transfers in refugee and host communities in Ethiopia

Last registered on July 18, 2022

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Promoting use of digital financial services with transfers in refugee and host communities in Ethiopia
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0009737
Initial registration date
July 13, 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
July 18, 2022, 9:12 AM EDT

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

Locations

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Primary Investigator

Affiliation
International Food Policy Research Institute

Other Primary Investigator(s)

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

Additional Trial Information

Status
On going
Start date
2022-05-01
End date
2022-12-31
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Abstract
Financial inclusion requires that individuals not only register for and have access to financial services, but also that they also learn how and use services available to them. It may not be trivial to get people to enroll in financial services, but then accounts must be used to include people in the financial system. This study examines whether conditional or unconditional transfers can be an effective way of boosting usage of digital financial services both among refugee and host populations. Partnering with a local service provider in areas hosting refugee camps in Jijiga and Dollo Ado, both in Somali region of Ethiopia, we plan to randomly offer two types of small incentives to relatively new customers who have not used the service after signing up for it. First, we will assign a group to receive an unconditional transfer, labeled to encourage experimentation, and a second group will be randomly assigned to receive a conditional transfer, triggered by first transacting three times within a month. Both groups will be compared to a control group that is not offered incentives.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Amente, Getachew et al. 2022. "Promoting use of digital financial services with transfers in refugee and host communities in Ethiopia." AEA RCT Registry. July 18. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.9737
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
o Partnering with a local microfinance institution (MFI), the research team will use the MFI’s existing client data to select all customers who have signed up for an account in the past 90 days (conditional on availability) but have not conducted a transaction, according to administrative data. We project a sample size of around 2000 observations.
o These accounts will be randomly assigned into three groups. The first group will receive an unconditional transfer of 25 Birr, and a text message explaining that they can use the transfer to test using the service. The second group will receive a text message stating that if they complete three transactions within a month, they will receive a 25 Birr reward. This group will receive reminders during the month about the reward. The third group will act as a control group.
o The primary analysis will be conducted using administrative data from the financial service provider.
o A set of follow-up surveys will be conducted with a randomly chosen set of up to 800 individuals in order to gather additional reported data to better understand mechanisms and to study the secondary outcomes.
Intervention Start Date
2022-08-01
Intervention End Date
2022-08-31

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
- Number of transactions
- Value of transactions
- Number of services used
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
We want to observe whether the transfers increase the number, the total and the average value of transactions made on the system. We also want to see if it changes the diversity of services used by customers, which we will measure by the number of different services used.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
o Secondary:
- Understanding of how to use services
- Likelihood of recommending services to others
- Value associated with services
- Trust in service provider
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Value will be measured in a contingent valuation style question; trust will be on a Likert scale or similar.

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 all customers who have signed up for an account in the past 90 days (conditional on availability) but have not conducted a transaction, according to administrative data. We project a sample size of around 2000 observations.
o These accounts will be randomly assigned into three groups. The first group will receive an unconditional transfer of 25 Birr, and a text message explaining that they can use the transfer to test using the service. The second group will receive a text message stating that if they complete three transactions within a month, they will receive a 25 Birr reward. This group will receive reminders during the month about the reward. The third group will act as a control group.
o The primary analysis will be conducted using administrative data from the financial service provider.
o A set of follow-up surveys will be conducted with a randomly chosen set of up to 800 individuals in order to gather additional reported data to better understand mechanisms and to study the secondary outcomes.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Computer
Randomization Unit
Individual
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Roughly 2000, though determined wholly through administrative data
Sample size: planned number of observations
Roughly 2000 individuals, though determined wholly through administrative data
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
1/3 are control, 1/3 in the conditional treatment, 1/3 in the unconditional treatment
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Should be able to detect, in the administrative data, changes as small as 0.032 standard deviations of the mean
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
International Food Policy Research Institute
IRB Approval Date
2021-06-24
IRB Approval Number
MTID-21-0622