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Flexible Loans and Locked Savings for Female Market Vendors in India

Researchers: Michael King and William Jack (Georgetown University)

Partners: Innovation for Poverty Action (IPA)

Location: India

Sample: 3,200 female market vendors in Maharashtra

Timeline: 2016-2018

Theme: Theme: Financial Inclusion and Micro-enterprises

Funded by Innovation for Poverty Action, this study investigates the impact on the business performance of female market vendors of innovative loan products involving increased flexibility in borrowing and repayment schedules, as well as an offsetting locked savings account that allows clients to build up savings while reducing interest rates on their loans. The research comprises of an 18 month randomised control trial with 3,2000 female market vendors in 40 markets. The 3,200 female vendors will be divided into five groups and the four groups will be offered different financial products at their stall in the market place. To track performance of the different groups, the researchers will use survey and bank data to evaluate whether access to the different products increase microenterprise profit, drive business expansion, and impact household welfare. The banking partner, Mann Deshi, is a cooperative bank founded in 1997 as the first women’s cooperative bank to receive a banking license from the Reserve Bank of India.

Further information is available here:

Text Messaging for Financial Behavior Change in Zambia

Researchers: Michael King and Syon Bhanot (Swarthmore College)

Partners: World Bank i2i Grant

Location: Zambia

Sample: 84,000 Natsave customers

Timeline: 2017-2018

Theme: Theme Financial Inclusion and Financial Capability

Working with Natsave, Zambia, this project employs a novel text-messaging-based intervention to: 1) identify the behavioral barriers that lead to low engagement with formal financial services amongst those using the services; and 2) test strategies to help people overcome those barriers to increase engagement and financial security. Additionally, the study will provide the first evidence on the impact of conversational, two-way text messaging designed to encourage savings and improve loan repayment behaviors through Q&A capabilities and efforts to enhance trust in formal financial products. The study is working with 84,000 Natsave customers and involves both phone surveys and in-person surveys.

Evaluation of an Entrepreneurial Community Health Worker Model in Uganda - Phase II

Researchers: Martina Björkman Nyqvist, Andrea Guariso, Jakob Svensson

Partners: Living Goods, BRAC Uganda, Innovations for Poverty Action, CIFF (funding agency)

Location: Uganda

Sample: 12,500 households from 500 villages

Timeline: 2015-2018

Theme: Health

Between 2011 and 2014 we performed a first large-scale evaluation of a novel “social entrepreneurship” approach to health care delivery in Uganda. The evaluation was based on a randomized controlled trial, across 214 villages. In each treatment village, a female door-to-door sales agent was locally recruited and incentivized to sell subsidized medicines and other health products to households, making a small profit on each sale. Our results showed significant reductions in under-5, infant, and neonatal mortality. Following up on these remarkable results and taking advantage of a large expansion of the program, this new project will i) evaluate the impact of the program when it is brought to scale; ii) assess the level and type of activities of Community Health Promoters and how they relate and interact with other health workers operating in the study villages; iii) collect information on the price and quality of antimalarial drugs and antibiotics for pneumonia sold by drug stores operating in the study villages, to measure the extent of counterfeit and substandard drugs in the local markets. The evaluation is based on a large scale randomized controlled trial, covering 12,500 households located across 500 different villages. The trial is been registered with the Pan African Clinical Trials Registry: PACTR201609001398349.

Reducing Child Mortality in the Last Mile:  A Randomized Social Entrepreneurship Intervention in Uganda

Researchers: Martina Björkman Nyqvist, Andrea Guariso, Jakob Svensson, David Yanagizawa-Drott

Partners: Living Goods, BRAC Uganda, Innovations for Poverty Action

Location: Uganda

Sample: 7,000 households from 214 villages

Timeline: 2011-2014

Theme: Health

The delivery of basic health products and services, whether through the public or private sector, remains abysmal in many parts of the world where child mortality is high. In collaboration with two NGOs, we conduct a large-scale evaluation of a novel “social entrepreneurship” approach to health care delivery, randomized across 214 villages in Uganda. In each treatment village, a female door-to-door sales agent is locally recruited and incentivized to sell subsidized medicines and other health products to households, making a small profit on each sale. Our results show the intervention had a substantial health impact: under-5 child mortality was reduced by 27%. The draft version of the evaluation is available as CEPR Discussion Paper 11515.

Digitising Savings Groups: Impact Evaluation of Savings Group e-Recording Technology in Western Kenya.

Researchers: Michael King and Tara Mitchell

Partners: Financial Sector Deepening, Kenya

Location: Kenya

Sample: 3,600 members from 1,200 savings groups

Timeline: 2014-2017

Theme: Microfinance

This is a joint research project with Financial Sector Deepening (FSD), Kenya. In 2013, FSD together with its partners developed and piloted an Android application, known as e-recording, to savings groups to digitise their recording of financial records. Following this pilot, the application will be rolled out to savings groups from the beginning of 2015. The introduction of this technology offers the potential to make a step change in the performance of savings groups and be a catalyst for increases in household level savings. The e-recording device will record group transactions at each meeting and provide on request basic financial reports at the individual and group level. By using a randomised control trial methodology, this study will assess the impact of the e-recording device on group performance, sustainability, transparency and consumer protection and savings and borrowing by members. It will also investigate the existence of local spillover effects on other savings groups caused by improved exposure to technology, greater expectations of transparency and switching between groups in the treatment area. While the central research questions relate to the impact of the e-recording device on the performance of savings groups and changes in household financial management practices, the underlying policy question relates to the role technology can play in the future success of savings groups. Will the introduction of technology lead to a cementing of savings groups in the landscape of financial services used in sub-Saharan Africa? What level of training is required for successful rollout? To what extent do technological or other spillovers exist?

Migration, Remittances, and Information.

Researchers: Gaia Narciso and Catia Batista

Partners: Norface Research Programme on Migration

Location: Ireland

Sample: 1,500 migrants living in Greater Dublin Area

Timeline: 2009-2015

Theme: Migration

This project investigates financial flows generated by international migrants. It implements a randomized control trial to quantitatively assess the role of communication between migrants and their contacts abroad on the extent and value of remittance flows. The aim of the project is to measure how this experimental variation in information flows between immigrants and their networks outside of Ireland affects remittance flows. The project has been presented in numerous seminars and prestigious conferences in Europe and North America.

You can view this project here.

NOURISH: Nutrition and Treatment Outcome. Development of a Ugandan-Irish HIV/Nutrition Research Cluster.

Researchers: Gaia Narciso and Carol Newman

Partners: Irish Aid and Higher Education Research and Institution

Location: Uganda

Sample: 4000 Women in 32 clinics in rural areas

Timeline: 2012-2016

Theme: Health

This research project explores the link between nutrition and HIV treatment in Uganda from a biomedical, socio-economic and empowerment perspective. It is a collaborative inter-disciplinary project between a number of institutions in Uganda and Trinity College Dublin's School of Social Sciences and Philosophy, School of Medicine and School of Natural Sciences. The social sciences component involves a randomized field experiment in HIV clinics across Uganda. The experiment includes three major interventions: i) a nutritional information campaign; ii) a training course in the sourcing of ingredients for, and preparation of, a Home-Made-Therapeutic-Food; and iii) a female empowerment campaign focussing on inspiring women to invest in business.

Powering Education: the impact of solar lamps on educational attainment in rural Kenya.

Researchers: Fadi Hassan and Paolo Lucchino

Partners: Givewatts, ENEL Foundation, Rome and Nairobi Hubs of the Global Shapers Community of the WEF.

Location: Kenya

Sample: 300 pupils in 7th Grade in rural Kenya

Timeline: 2013-2014

Theme: Energy access and education

This project is part of a Global Shapers initiative and it is the winner of the Coca-Cola Challenge of the World Economic Forum. In this project we run a randomized control trial (RCT) in Kenya in order to assess the impact of energy access on education performance. This is a novel experiment that hopefully will increase our awareness and knowledge on this key development issue. We distribute solar lamps to pupils in off-grid areas and measure the change of grades between the treatment and the control group. We also monitor the effect that the lamp has on expenditure on alternative lighting sources and the time use of household members. Once our identification strategy accounts for potential spillovers, we are able to find a positive and significant intention-to-treat effect as well as a positive and significant spillover effect on control students in mathematics. Moreover, we find that increasing treatment intensity by 10% raises the average grade of a class by up to 5 points. Finally, we find a statistically significant effect on savings and short time effects on study time, employment for fathers, and work at home for mothers.

So fresh and so clean: urban community engagement to keep streets trash-free and improve the sustainability of drainage infrastructure in Senegal.

Researchers: Tara Mitchell and Carol Newman

Partners: World Bank, Municipal Development Agency of Dakar

Location: Senegal

Sample: 2,400 households living in peri-urban areas of Dakar

Timeline: 2013-2016

Theme: Infrastructure and Health

This study is a component of the World Bank-assisted Stormwater Management and Climate Change Adaptation Project (PROGEP) and uses a randomized controlled trial to provide evidence on how PROGEP can best achieve its community engagement objectives. Community participation is seen a key factor to ensure sustainability of the infrastructure investments put on the ground by PROGEP. The impact evaluation component of the project will estimate the effectiveness of alternative mechanisms for engaging local populations in the preservation of public spaces. The two interventions studied by the evaluation are designed to achieve community engagement through (i) motivating communities to self-organize by financing community-proposed micro-projects; or (ii) targeting established community-based groups with social contract and performance-based incentives.