Experimental Research Datasets

This is a database of experimental impact evaluation projects undertaken by PEP-supported local researchers in developing countries. The data comes from impact evaluations conducted using the Randomized Controlled Trials and Field Experiments methodologies only. 

Currently, the database covers impact evaluations of interventions related to youth employment, women’s empowerment, access to credit, and cash transfer programs. Other impact evaluations addressing different policies will be added in time.   


Information collected 

For each impact evaluation, the database provides:

  • A quick description of the intervention under scrutiny, 
  • The evaluation design, 
  • The results of the impact evaluation (the results reported are significant at the 5% level, unless otherwise noted), 
  • A link to the document, if publicly available. 


Technical support 

The Experimental Research group provides scientific support and capacity building to experimental research project teams via study visits, training workshops and online mentoring on conducting RCTs and field experiments. PIERI experts assist teams from the beginning to the completion of the evaluation project, addressing sampling strategy, questionnaire design, experimental design, data collection techniques, data analysis, report writing, dissemination, and policy outreach.



Project Code: PIERI-13014

Title: A Pathway to Adoption of Yield-Enhancing Agricultural Technologies among Rural Poor: Evidence from a Randomized Control Trial in Benin

Authors: Deo-Gracias Houndolo, Assogba Hodonou, Dislène Senan, Sossou Rahamatou, Hamidou Yacoubou

Locality: Alibori, Borgou and Collines

Description: We tested a novel way of encouraging the adoption of improved maize seeds in Benin. In the treatment group, farmers were provided with intensive agricultural-extension support and a full package of inputs to test on one of their plots. In the control group, farmers were offered improved seeds, and agricultural-extension agents gave them only limited support. Our treatment was designed to encourage farmers to experiment with improved seeds by providing intensive technical support and free inputs throughout the maize crop season. Using a cluster randomized design and data on farmers’ experimental plots, we found a 23% increase in maize yields with our intervention as compared to the less resource-intensive policy solution. Further analyses suggested that it was not enough to expose farmers to a one-time resource-intensive model because the impact on their production was not long-lasting.

Data collection date (Month(s)/Year): January 29th - February 15th, 2018,  January 24th- February 07th, 2019

Publication date: February 2020

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Project Code: PIERI-12883

Title: Preference for women but less preference for indigenous women: A lab-field experiment of loan discrimination in a developing economy

Authors: Gabriela Aguilera-Lizarazu, Andrea Rojas-Hosse, Patricia Aranda Blanco, Rolando Gonzales Martínez

Locality: La Paz

Description: A field experiment was performed in a controlled laboratory setting to evaluate whether credit officers reject micro-loan applications based on the ethnicity/gender of potential borrowers. Point estimates of a mixed-effects logistic regression suggest that, compared to non-indigenous men, non-indigenous women have two times more chance of loan approval, and indigenous women have 1.5 more chance of loan approval. The interval results regarding ethnic discrimination are inconclusive, however some evidence of taste-based discrimination in credit lending that was favorable for non-indigenous women was found.

Data collection date (Month(s)/Year): March 5 and March 12, 2016

Publication date: December 2016

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Project Code: PIERI-20165

Title: Information, Price, and Barriers to Adoption and Usage of Mobile Money Evidence from a Field Experiment in The Gambia.

Authors: Guillermo Cruces, Hamidou Jawara, Adama Touray, Fatoumata Singhateh

Locality: The Greater Banjul area, North Bank Region, Central River Region, Lower River Region and Upper River Region

Description: Mobile money has been heralded as a way to foster financial inclusion. While it has become popular in developing countries, most notably in African nations, there are still strong barriers to its adoption and usage. The purpose of this study is to examine the extent to which a lack of information and high prices are limiting factors in the adoption of mobile money. We implemented a simple randomized controlled trial among a group of difficult-to- access potential users: mobile phone users in The Gambia who had opened mobile money wallets but had not made a transaction. We offered meaningful price discounts on withdrawal charges, and made these discounts salient by reminding users about them every month for a period of six months. Our analysis measures different dimensions of mobile money use by drawing from administrative mobile phone company records. We also carried out a posttreatment survey to gauge knowledge about, and attitudes towards, mobile money. Our results indicate that treated individuals were substantially more aware than controls about the uses of mobile wallets and about the meaningful discounts of 15% and 30% offered. However, only a small fraction of treated individuals started using mobile wallets, and the difference was not statistically significant. Perceptions of safety, trust in the platform, and service reliability were not significantly different between treated and controls. However, treated individuals were more likely to perceive the service charges to be expensive. We interpret this as evidence that our population of interest was uninformed about the platform at large. While our treatment increased awareness about its capabilities and operation, potentially fostering its adoption, it also increased awareness of the relatively high fees it involves, which in turn limited usage. Both a lack of information and high prices need to be addressed to foster the adoption and usage of mobile money in developing countries.

Data collection date (Month(s)/Year): November 2018 - July 2019

Publication date: February 2020

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Project Code: PIERI-12792

Title: The Relationship between Intra-Household Bargaining and Program Participation in Rural India

Authors: Savita Kulkarni, Anirudh Tagat, Hansika Kapoor

Locality: Thethoor (Madurai District) and Mallanampatti (Dindigul District) in Tamil Nadu

Description: This study aims to investigate intra-household bargaining outcomes elicited in an artefactual field experiment design where participants completed a purchase task of real commodities. Married couples separately expressed their initial preferences over commodities. The bargaining process in the experiment was exogenously introduced by sharing information about partners’ preferences in the treatment group. We hypothesized that the spouse with weaker bargaining position at the household level would consider the information of their partner’s preferences while making own consumption decisions more compared to their partner. Therefore, they may deviate from their own preferences when purchasing commodities. More than 230 married couples from two villages in the Tamil Nadu state of India participated in the experiment. It was observed that information about partners’ spending preferences resulted in reduced final allocations for female participants. However, the deviation was not significantly different from the original intention to spend. Therefore, information about partners’ preferences may not be an effective medium to elicit bargaining power in the context of jointly-consumed household commodities. Subgroup analyses were performed to identify any heterogeneous treatment effects.

Data collection date (Month(s)/Year): October 2015

Publication date: October 2016

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Project Code: PIERI-12937

Title: Skills Training and Business Outcomes: Experimental Evidence from Liberia

Authors: Ana C. Dammert, Aisha Nansamba

Locality: Bong, Margibi, Montserrado, Grand Bassa and Lofa counties

Description: This paper explores whether skills training in business performance and customer practices was a promising way to increase business outcomes among self-employed workers who operate small businesses in developing countries. We randomized training in business-management skills and business and inter-personal skills among BRAC’s Small Enterprise Programme firm owners in Liberia. We found that firm owners who received either training experienced an increase in attention to customers, which consequently enhanced the performance of the businesses, including higher average monthly revenue, less loss of customers, and a smaller likelihood of encountering business losses. Customers, however, reported no effect on their customer experiences.

Data collection date (Month(s)/Year): September 2017 -  January 2018, December 2018 - January 2019

Publication date: December 2019

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Project Code: PIERI-20281

Title: Combining Financial-Literacy Training and Text Message Reminders to Influence Mobile-Money Use and Financial Behavior among Members of Village Savings and Loan Associations: Experimental Evidence from Malawi

Authors: Levison Chiwaula, Mirriam Matita, Tayamika Kamwanja, Lucius Cassim, Marcos Agurto

Locality: Machinga and Mangochi districts

Description: Mobile money is increasingly promoted as a strategy to improve financial outcomes and livelihoods in low-income countries. However, its adoption and use among the poor remain slow. We exploited a randomized experiment that exposed members of Village Savings and Loan Associations in Malawi to a financial-literacy and mobile-money training program, which was reinforced by weekly text-message reminders. We analyzed the impact of our intervention using survey data collected in the field as well as administrative data from the main telecommunications operators in the area. We found that treated individuals were more likely to have greater knowledge of mobile-money transactions than non-treated ones. They were also more likely to report receiving and saving money using mobile money and were more likely to report that they kept their savings in a formal financial institution. Interestingly, these effects were concentrated in relatively less economically developed areas. We used administrative data to analyze the effects of our intervention on the volume of mobile-money transactions. While the estimated effect had the expected positive sign, it was not statistically significant. We hypothesized that this result may be related to the fact that individuals also relied on local agents to perform mobile-money transactions; such behavior was not captured in administrative data. This is among the first studies to provide rigorous field-based evidence regarding how financial training supported by text-message reminders can influence mobile-money behavior. It is also among the very first to study the effects of such an intervention among members of Village Savings and Loan Associations.

Data collection date (Month(s)/Year): November 4th -23rd 2018, March 29th – April 18th 2019

Publication date: February 2020

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Project Code: PIERI-12375

Title: Demand-Driven Youth Training Programs: Experimental Evidence from Mongolia.

Authors: Maria Laura Alzúa, Soyolmaa Batbekh, Altantsetseg Batchuluun, Bayarmaa Dalkhjavd, José Galdo.

Locality: Ulaanbaatar

Description: Because of its high incidence and potential threat to social cohesion, youth unemployment is a global concern. This study uses a randomized controlled trial to analyze the effectiveness of a demand-driven vocational training program for disadvantaged youth in Mongolia. Mongolia, a transitional country whose economic structure shifted from a communist, centrally planned economy to a free-market economy over a relatively short period, offers anew setting in which to test the effectiveness of standard active labor market policies. This study reports positive and statistically significant short-term effects of vocational training on monthly earnings, skills matching, and self-employment. Substantial heterogeneity emerges as relatively older, richer, and better-educated individuals drive these positive effects. A second intervention that randomly assigns participants to receive repetitive weekly newsletters with information on market returns to vocational training shows positive impacts on the length of exposure to and successful completion of the program. These positive effects, however, are only observed.

Data collection date (Month(s)/Year): August-December 2013, June-December 2014, June-December 2015

Publication date: May 2019

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Project Code: PIERI-12942

Title: Local ambassadors promote mobile banking in Northern Peru

Authors: Marcos Agurto, Habiba Djebbari, Sudipta Sarangi, Brenda Silupú, Carolina Trivelli, Javier Torres

Locality: Piura and Lima cities

Description: We experiment with a novel way to boost information acquisition that exploits existing social ties between the promoter of a new financial technology and community members. We offer information and training workshops on a new mobile-money platform in peri-urban and rural areas in Peru. In the treatment group, workshops are led by promoters who are personally known to the invited participants. In the control group, comparable individuals are invited to attend similar workshops, but the workshops are led by agents external to the community. Our findings suggest that lack of information impedes product adoption, which is itself limited by lack of trust in the individual who provides the information.

Data collection date (Month(s)/Year): April - December 2018

Publication date: January 2020

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Project Code: PIERI-12451

Title: Beyond Technical Skills Training: The impact of Credit Counselling on Entrepreneurial Behavior of Ugandan Youth

Authors: Juliet Ssekandi, Zeridah Zigiti, Daniel Joloba, Benjamin Kachero, Samuel Galiwango

Locality: Kampala, Wakiso, Mbale, Gulu and Mbarara

Description: There is a low financial credit take among youth in Uganda because potential beneficiaries perceive the associated risk as high. This study assesses the determinants of entrepreneurial risk tolerance among Ugandan youth using experimental data from a randomised control trial and a real-life investment risk experiment. The intervention consists of credit-counselling and sector-specific business training for young men and women aged 18-35 years who own a business to inform them about the obligations and commitments associated with financial credit. The intervention has a significant impact on the demand for credit and related intermediate outcomes such as the ownership of a bank account and the investment in assets. The study finds that the youth actually exhibit lower demand for credit after the business training. This is attributed to an increased awareness of the actual risk associated with taking out credit. The findings of this research reinforce national strategies to promote soft skills for business entrepreneurship, extending beyond the standard business training.

Data collection date (Month(s)/Year): February 2014, July 2014, November 2014

Publication date: October 2015

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Project Code: PIERI-20379

Title: Monetary Incentives and Early Initiation of Antenatal Care: A Matched-Pair, Parallel-Cluster Randomized Trial in Zambia

Authors: Chitalu Miriam Chama Chiliba, Peter Hangoma, Natalia Cantet, Patricia Funjika, Grayson Koyi, Maria Laura Alzua

Locality: Central Province, Zambia

Description: Monetary incentives are often used to increase the motivation and output of health service providers. However, the focus has generally been on frontline health service providers. Using a cluster randomized trial, we evaluate the effect of monetary incentives provided to community-based volunteers on early initiation of antenatal care visits and deliveries in health facilities in communities in Zambia. Monetary incentives were assigned to community-based volunteers in treatment sites, and payments were made for every woman referred or accompanied in the first trimester of pregnancy during January-June 2020. We found a significant increase of about thirty-two percentage points in the number of women seeking antenatal care visits in the first trimester but no effect on coverage rates (the percentage of women who deliver at a health facility and are assisted by skilled birth attendants). The number of women accompanied by community-based volunteers for antenatal care in the first trimester increased by thirty-three percentage points. Deliveries in health facilities also increased by twenty-two percentage points. These findings suggest that the use of health facilities during the first trimester of pregnancy can be improved by providing community-based volunteers with monetary incentives and that such incentives can also increase deliveries in health facilities, which are key to improving the survival of women and newborns.

Data collection date (Month(s)/Year): January 2018 to June 2020

Publication date: February 2022

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