SILC Innovations Research Brief 2: Agent Productivity in Fee-for-Service Savings Groups
To assess the model and inform future SILC rollouts on this fee-for-service savings-group delivery channel, CRS carried out a broad research study using a Randomized Control Trial (RCT) design. The research was set up to make a fundamental comparison between two delivery channels: the fee-for-service PSP model and the more conventional project-paid FA model. To rigorously compare the two, an experimental design established statistically comparable cohorts of agents serving members in comparable environments over approximately a one-year interval.
In total, the study tracked 333 randomized agents across two cohorts (separated by about one year). The agents were assigned either fee-for-service PSP status or stipend-paid FA status for the research interval, which followed a 12-month training phase in which all agents were paid a stipend. Management Information System data was collected from all agents on a quarterly basis, and included a multitude of data points, from agent earnings to group performance measures. This brief draws on the data specifi cally pertaining to productivity, with a key question at the heart of the investigation: how does PSP productivity compare to fi eld agent productivity, taking into account that PSPs have to charge communities for their service?