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Why Don't the Poor Save More? Evidence from Health Savings Experiments

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  • Pascaline Dupas
  • Jonathan Robinson

Abstract

Using data from a field experiment in Kenya, we document that providing individuals with simple informal savings technologies can substantially increase investment in preventative health and reduce vulnerability to health shocks. Simply providing a safe place to keep money was sufficient to increase health savings by 66 percent. Adding an earmarking feature was only helpful when funds were put toward emergencies, or for individuals that are frequently taxed by friends and relatives. Group-based savings and credit schemes had very large effects.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 103 (2013)
Issue (Month): 4 (June)
Pages: 1138-71

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:103:y:2013:i:4:p:1138-71

Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.103.4.1138
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References

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  1. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Esther Duflo, 2007. "The Economic Lives of the Poor," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(1), pages 141-168, Winter.
  2. Nava Ashaf & Dean Karlan & Wesley Yin, 2004. "Tying odysseus to the mast: Evidence from a commitment savings product in the philippines," Natural Field Experiments 00206, The Field Experiments Website.
  3. Florencia Devoto & Esther Duflo & Pascaline Dupas & William Parient� & Vincent Pons, 2012. "Happiness on Tap: Piped Water Adoption in Urban Morocco," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 68-99, November.
  4. Dean Karlan & Sendhil Mullainathan & Margaret McConnell & Jonathan Zinman, 2010. "Getting to theTop of Mind: How Reminders Increase Saving," Working Papers id:2587, eSocialSciences.
  5. Alessandro Tarozzi & Aprajit Mahajan & Brian Blackburn & Dan Kopf & Lakshmi Krishnan & Joanne Yoong, 2011. "Micro-loans, Insecticide-Treated Bednets and Malaria:Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial in Orissa (India)," Working Papers id:3915, eSocialSciences.
  6. Felipe Kast & Stephan Meier & Dina Pomeranz, 2012. "Under-Savers Anonymous: Evidence on Self-Help Groups and Peer Pressure as a Savings Commitment Device," NBER Working Papers 18417, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Timothy Besley & Stephen Coate & Glenn Loury, 1992. "The Economics of Rotating Savings and Credit Associations," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development 24, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
  8. Robinson, Jonathan & Dupas, Pascaline, 2009. "Savings Constraints and Microenterprise Development: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Kenya," Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt34w0w53t, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
  9. Marcel Fafchamps & David McKenzie & Simon R. Quinn & Christopher Woodruff, 2011. "When is capital enough to get female microenterprises growing? Evidence from a randomized experiment in Ghana," NBER Working Papers 17207, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  11. Nava Ashraf, 2009. "Spousal Control and Intra-household Decision Making: An Experimental Study in the Philippines," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(4), pages 1245-77, September.
  12. Banerjee, Abhijit & Mullainathan, Sendhil, 2010. "The Shape of Temptation: Implications for the Economic Lives of the Poor," CEPR Discussion Papers 7828, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Siwan Anderson, 2000. "The Economics of Roscas and Intra-Household Resource Allocation," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1323, Econometric Society.
  14. Pascaline Dupas, 2010. "Short-Run Subsidies and Long-Run Adoption of New Health Products: Evidence from a Field Experiment," Working Papers id:2498, eSocialSciences.
  15. Brune, Lasse & Gine, Xavier & Goldberg, Jessica & Yang, Dean, 2011. "Commitments to save : a field experiment in rural Malawi," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5748, The World Bank.
  16. Richard H. Thaler & Shlomo Benartzi, 2004. "Save More Tomorrow (TM): Using Behavioral Economics to Increase Employee Saving," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(S1), pages S164-S187, February.
  17. Stefano DellaVigna & Ulrike Malmendier, 2006. "Paying Not to Go to the Gym," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 694-719, June.
  18. Nava Ashraf & Dean Karlan & Wesley Yin, 2006. "Household Decision Making and Savings Impacts: Further Evidence from a Commitment Savings Product in the Philippines," Working Papers 939, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  19. Jakiela, Pamela & Ozier, Owen, 2012. "Does Africa need a rotten Kin Theorem ? experimental evidence from village economies," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6085, The World Bank.
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  21. Basu, Karna, 2008. "Hyperbolic discounting and the sustainability of rotational savings arrangements," MPRA Paper 20440, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Brune, Lasse & Gine, Xavier & Goldberg, Jessica & Yang, Dean, 2011. "Commitments to save : a field experiment in rural Malawi," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5748, The World Bank.
  2. Pascaline Dupas & Sarah Green & Anthony Keats & Jonathan Robinson, 2012. "Challenges in Banking the Rural Poor: Evidence from Kenya's Western Province," NBER Working Papers 17851, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Gharad Bryan & Shyamal Chowdhury & Ahmed Mushfiq Mobarak, 2014. "Under-investment in a Profitable Technology: The Case of Seasonal Migration in Bangladesh," NBER Working Papers 20172, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Thorsten Beck & Haki Pamuk & Burak R. Uras, 2014. "Entrepreneurial Saving Practices and Reinvestment: Theory and Evidence from Tanzanian MSEs," CSAE Working Paper Series 2014-15, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  5. Michael Clemens and Erwin Tiongson, 2013. "Split Decisions: Family Finance When a Policy Discontinuity Allocates Overseas Work," Working Papers 324, Center for Global Development.
  6. B. Douglas Bernheim & Jonathan Meer & Neva K. Novarro, 2012. "Do Consumers Exploit Precommitment Opportunities? Evidence from Natural Experiments Involving Liquor Consumption," NBER Working Papers 17762, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Bryan, Gharad & Chowdhury, Shyamal & Mobarak, Ahmed Mushfiq, 2012. "Seasonal Migration and Risk Aversion," CEPR Discussion Papers 8739, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Aruna Chandra & Thankom Arun, 2011. "United States Microfinance: Regulating to Promote Growth?," NFI Working Papers 2011-WP-28, Indiana State University, Scott College of Business, Networks Financial Institute.
  9. Matteo Marinangeli & Andrea Filippo Presbitero, 2011. "Can the Poor Save More? Evidence from Bangladesh," Mo.Fi.R. Working Papers 57, Money and Finance Research group (Mo.Fi.R.) - Univ. Politecnica Marche - Dept. Economic and Social Sciences.
  10. Felipe Kast & Stephan Meier & Dina Pomeranz, 2012. "Under-Savers Anonymous: Evidence on Self-Help Groups and Peer Pressure as a Savings Commitment Device," NBER Working Papers 18417, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Jennifer M. Meredith & Jonathan Robinson & Sarah Walker & Bruce Wydick, 2013. "Keeping the Doctor Away: Experimental Evidence on Investment in Preventative Health Products," NBER Working Papers 19312, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Brigitte C. Madrian, 2012. "Matching Contributions and Savings Outcomes: A Behavioral Economics Perspective," NBER Working Papers 18220, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Ubfal, Diego, 2012. "How General Are Time Preferences? Eliciting Good-Specific Discount Rates," IZA Discussion Papers 6774, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. Bengtsson, Niklas & Pettersson, Jan, 2012. "The Outreach and Sustainability of Microfinance: Is There a Tradeoff?," Working Paper Series, Center for Labor Studies 2012:18, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  15. Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Klapper, Leora, 2012. "Measuring financial inclusion : the Global Findex Database," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6025, The World Bank.
  16. Aggarwal, Shilpa & Klapper, Leora & Singer, Dorothe, 2012. "Financing businesses in Africa : the role of microfinance," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5975, The World Bank.
  17. Demombynes, Gabriel & Thegeya, Aaron, 2012. "Kenya's mobile revolution and the promise of mobile savings," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5988, The World Bank.

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