Download StudyGeneral

Study Overview

Making Cash Grants "Work" for Women Entrepreneurs. Accra, Ghana
Study is 3ie funded:
Study ID:
Initial Registration Date:
Last Update Date:
Study Status:

Through a multi-armed RCT, this study tests the impact of three different combinations of interventions meant to help female entrepreneurs intensify their business investments. Earlier experimental studies have shown that capital injections tend to significantly improve the performance of male-owned but not female-owned small enterprises. In order to shed light on the gender-specific constraints that limit women entrepreneurs’ ability to turn these capital injections into greater profits, and to identify policies that can mitigate the effect of these constraints, this experiment targeting women entrepreneurs in Accra, Ghana compares the effect of 1) conditioning the disbursement of the grant to successful participation in a commitment savings program, 2) combining a cash grant with training on the optimal allocation of household resources, and 3) disbursing the grant to the women entrepreneurs’ husbands. The data collection strategy and overall experiment were designed to allow for an in-depth exploration of the role of intra-household dynamics in shaping women’s investment decisions. In line with this, the effects of each combination of interventions are to be measured by tracking both firm-level and household-level outcomes.

Registration Citation:
Private Sector Development
Additional Keywords:
gender, micro-entrepreneurship,
Secondary ID Number(s):

Principal Investigator(s)

Name of First PI:
Francisco Campos
World Bank
Name of Second PI:
Marine Gassier
World Bank

Research Partner

Type of Organization:
Foreign or Multilateral Aid Agency
United States

Intervention Overview


We will test through a randomized controlled trial (RCT) the following interventions against a pure control group:  * T1 (unconditional) cash grant *T2 cash grant conditional on reaching a savings goal * T3 cash grant conditional on participating on a household-decision making training ? *T4 (unconditional) cash grant disbursed to the beneficiary’s husband (regardless of his activity) We aim to assess the impacts of these interventions on women's business performance outcomes such as access to finance, investment, revenues and profits. We will also use this evaluation to learn about the impacts of these interventions on household income and other household metrics (Pande et al. 2014). Finally, the household-decision making training gives us the opportunity to conduct a lab-in-the-field experiment and learn more about the allocation of resources at the household level.

Theory of Change:

T1 – Unconditional cash grant: We expect that these grants have limited impacts on business investments and profits. However, following Bernhardt (2017), we want to measure the effect of grants disbursed to women on investments and earnings of their husband's business

T2 – Cash grant conditional on adhering to a predefined savings plan: This treatment can affect the behaviors and investment decisions of the recipients through different channels: (i) it can constitute a form of self-commitment mechanism and strengthen the beneficiary's self-control during the period, (ii) it provides the beneficiary with a means to shield her capital from the demands of others, (iii) it increases the opportunity cost of transfers or expenditures

T3 – Cash grant conditional on the beneficiaries of their husbands attending a training on joint decision making: The training is expected to affect participant's behaviors through experiential learning, that is by exposing them to the outcomes of specific decisions.

T4 – Unconditional cash grant disbursed to the women entrepreneurs' husbands: Disbursing grants to the husbands of women entrepreneurs could have a range of effects: (i) Husbands who received a grant could cover a greater share of the household’s expenditures, which would free part of their wives’ income and allow them to increase their business investment, (ii) Husbands could transfer part of the grants directly to their spouse so that it can be invested in the business, (iii) it could increase the disparity in endowments between husband and wife, which can increase the bargaining power of husbands relative to their wives, and thus reinforce the biases in the allocation of household resources

Multiple Treatment Arms Evaluated?

Implementing Agency

Name of Organization:
Innovations for Poverty Action
Type of Organization:
NGO (International)

Program Funder

Type of Organization:
Foreign or Multilateral Aid Agency

Intervention Timing

Intervention or Program Started at time of Registration?
Start Date:
End Date:
Evaluation Method

Evaluation Method Overview

Primary (or First) Evaluation Method:
Randomized control trial
Other (not Listed) Method:
Additional Evaluation Method (If Any):
Other (not Listed) Method:

Method Details

Details of Evaluation Approach:

Constitution of the study sample:

In order to constitute a sample frame for this experimental study, we first conducted a listing survey of 10, 000 businesswomen in Accra. We drew a sample of 528 enumeration areas (EAs), plus an additional back up sample of 133 EAs among the 2132 EAs within the boundaries of Accra Metropolitan Area. These EAs were selected randomly, with a probability proportional to size, defined as the population of each area, after stratifying by the number of women entrepreneurs and the average room occupancy (a proxy of wealth) in each EA . Respondents were then approached either at their workplace - business(75%) or market(8%)- or at their homes(17%). After dropping all the respondents who indicated that they were not partnered (31% of the respondents of the listing survey), the restricted sample used to select the participants to this study included 7006 women.


When structuring our experimental sample, we wanted to anticipate general equilibrium effects, and more generally ensure that the results would not be affected by the effects, positive or negative, that the intervention could have on control firms. To do so, we randomized at the level of the enumeration areas (EAs) level, rather than randomizing individual household. This means that our standard errors will be clustered. However, given the extremely low level of correlation of the outcome of interest (profits) within these clusters observed in the listing and baseline surveys, this did not affect our power calculations.


    We stratified the randomization of the EAs by 1) the number of households included in the sample in each EA 2) average profits of in-sample businesses in the EA 3) average capital stock of in-sample businesses in the EA

Outcomes (Endpoints):

I] Final outcomes a) Primary outcomes • Measures of earnings of primary beneficiary • Expenditures of the primary beneficiary • Survival rate of the business b) Secondary outcomes • Expenditures of the beneficiary's partner • Measures of earnings of the beneficiary's partner • Household earnings • Household consumption • Other measures of household welfare (share of schoold-aged children currently in school, share of male school-aged children currentlly in school, share of female school-aged children currently in school) • Household assets • Measures of empowerment II] Intermediary outcomes • Measures of business investments • Household behavior (level of cooperation among spouses, transfers from/to main beneficiary to/from beneficiary's spouse, transfers from/to main beneficiary/beneficiary's spouse to/from household and non-household members, labor provided by household members) • Primary beneficiaries' consumption patterns

Unit of Analysis:
Female entrepreneurs and their partners

In this experimental design, we vary either the conditions under which the grants are disbursed or the identity of the recipient in order to test three avenues to support women's business investments.

  • Does encouraging a period of savings prior to the grant disbursement through a commitment device lead to larger business investments? We test this through conditioning the cash grants on regular savings in a designated account.
  • Does encouraging households to address biases in the allocation of their resources lead to larger business investments? We test this through conditioning the cash grants on participating in a training focused on optimizing the allocation of household resources.
  • Does relaxing the budget constraint of the women entrepreneurs' spouses lead to larger business investments? We test this through providing the cash grant to the women entrepreneur’s husband.
Unit of Intervention or Assignment:
Number of Clusters in Sample:
430 enumeration areas in final study sample
Number of Individuals in Sample:
6000 respondents (3000 households)
Size of Treatment, Control, or Comparison Subsamples:
Comparaison group 800 households; T1 300 households, T2 800 households, T3 800 households, T4 300 households

Supplementary Files

Other Documents:

Outcomes Data

We conducted a baseline survey with 3000 women entrepreneurs and their partners. In addition, two follow-up surveys will be conducted with the same participants. Respondents will be interviewed either at their workplace or home.
Data Already Collected?
Data Previously Used?
Data Access:
Not restricted - access with no requirements or minimal requirements (e.g. web registration)
Data Obtained by the Study Researchers?
Data Approval Process:
Approval Status:

Treatment Assignment Data

Participation or Assignment Information:
Data Obtained by the Study Researchers?
Data Previously Used?
Data Access:
Data Obtained by the Study Researchers?
Data Approval Process:
Approval Status:

Data Analysis

Data Analysis Status:

Study Materials

Upload Study Materials:

Registration Category

Registration Category:
Prospective, Category 3: Data for measuring impacts have been obtained/collected by the research team but analysis for this evaluation has not started

Completion Overview

Intervention Completion Date:
Data Collection Completion Date:
Unit of Analysis:
Clusters in Final Sample:
Total Observations in Final Sample:
Size of Treatment, Control, or Comparison Subsamples:


Preliminary Report:
Preliminary Report URL:
Summary of Findings:
Paper Summary:
Paper Citation:

Data Availability

Data Availability (Primary Data):
Date of Data Availability:
Data URL or Contact:
Access procedure:

Other Materials

Survey Instrument Links or Contact:
Program Files:
Program Files Links or Contact:
External Link:
External Link Description:
Description of Changes:

Study Stopped