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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, through a mental accounting effect. Adding an earmarking feature was only helpful when funds were put towards emergencies; earmarking for preventative health reduced savings on average, because the liquidity cost of tying up money was too great. Providing social pressure and credit through a ROSCA-based savings scheme had very large effects.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17255.

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Date of creation: Jul 2011
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Publication status: published as Pascaline Dupas & Jonathan Robinson, 2013. "Why Don't the Poor Save More? Evidence from Health Savings Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(4), pages 1138-71, June.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17255

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. Bryan, Gharad & Chowdhury, Shyamal & Mobarak, Ahmed Mushfiq, 2012. "Seasonal Migration and Risk Aversion," CEPR Discussion Papers 8739, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. 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.
  4. Brigitte C. Madrian, 2012. "Matching Contributions and Savings Outcomes: A Behavioral Economics Perspective," NBER Working Papers 18220, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. 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.
  6. Michael Clemens and Erwin Tiongson, 2013. "Split Decisions: Family Finance When a Policy Discontinuity Allocates Overseas Work," Working Papers 324, Center for Global Development.
  7. 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.
  8. Demombynes, Gabriel & Thegeya, Aaron, 2012. "Kenya's mobile revolution and the promise of mobile savings," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5988, The World Bank.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  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. 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.
  16. Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Klapper, Leora, 2012. "Measuring financial inclusion : the Global Findex Database," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6025, The World Bank.
  17. Aggarwal, Shilpa & Klapper, Leora & Singer, Dorothe, 2012. "Financing businesses in Africa : the role of microfinance," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5975, The World Bank.

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