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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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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/aer.103.4.1138
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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. Besley, T. & Coate, S. & Loury, G., 1990. "The Economics Of Rotating Savings And Credit Associations," Working papers 556, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  2. Dean Karlan & Margaret McConnell & Sendhil Mullainathan & Jonathan Zinman, 2010. "Getting to the Top of Mind: How Reminders Increase Saving," Working Papers 988, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Michal Bauer & Julie Chytilová & Jonathan Morduch, 2008. "Behavioral Foundations of Microcredit: Experimental and Survey Evidence From Rural India," Working Papers IES 2008/28, Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Economic Studies, revised Nov 2008.
  6. repec:cge:warwcg:49 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. 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.
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  12. Siwan Anderson, 2000. "The Economics of Roscas and Intra-Household Resource Allocation," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1323, Econometric Society.
  13. Nava Ashraf & Dean Karlan & Wesley Yin, 2006. "Tying Odysseus to the Mast: Evidence from a Commitment Savings Product in the Philippines," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(2), pages 635-672, May.
  14. 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.
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  16. 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.
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  18. 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.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. Kast, Felipe & Meier, Stephan & Pomeranz, Dina, 2012. "Under-Savers Anonymous: Evidence on Self-Help Groups and Peer Pressure as a Savings Commitment Device," IZA Discussion Papers 6311, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Clemens, Michael A. & Tiongson, Erwin R., 2012. "Split Decisions: Family Finance when a Policy Discontinuity Allocates Overseas Work," IZA Discussion Papers 7028, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Aggarwal, Shilpa & Klapper, Leora & Singer, Dorothe, 2012. "Financing businesses in Africa : the role of microfinance," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5975, The World Bank.
  5. 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.
  6. Gharad Bryan & Shyamal Chowdhury & A. Mushfiq Mobarak, 2011. "Seasonal Migration and Risk Aversion," Working Papers id:4650, eSocialSciences.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Klapper, Leora, 2012. "Measuring financial inclusion : the Global Findex Database," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6025, The World Bank.
  10. Demombynes, Gabriel & Thegeya, Aaron, 2012. "Kenya's mobile revolution and the promise of mobile savings," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5988, The World Bank.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Diego Ubfal, 2013. "How General Are Time Preferences? Eliciting Good-Specific Discount Rates," Working Papers 473, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  16. Brigitte C. Madrian, 2012. "Matching Contributions and Savings Outcomes: A Behavioral Economics Perspective," NBER Working Papers 18220, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. 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.

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