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Allocating Cash Savings and the Role of Information: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Uganda

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  • Buehren, Niklas
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    Abstract

    Microfinance in general and microcredit programs in particular have attracted much attention among interest groups concerned with poverty eradication and are seen by many as highly promising means in order to alleviate poverty. More recently, the spotlight has turned increasingly on the development and promotion of microsaving devices and mechanisms suitable to the unbanked poor. Along these lines, the Saving Mobilization program implemented by BRAC in Uganda is an attempt to encourage a saving culture as well as overcoming barriers to make use of saving services at more formal financial institutions. Building on a randomized control trial, the aim of this study is to investigate the impact of this program on the saving behavior of participants. The intervention is successful in increasing the usage of semi-formal financial institutions on the extensive margin as well as to boost the amount held at these institutions. The total amount of savings, however, remains unaffected. Impact heterogeneity is important and the analysis shows that illiterate individuals as well as individuals having experienced theft in the recent past are more likely to respond to the program. --

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics in its series Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Berlin 2011 with number 16.

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    Date of creation: 2011
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    Handle: RePEc:zbw:gdec11:16

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    Keywords: Microfinance; saving promotion; theft; literacy; Uganda;

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    1. Ashraf Nava & Karlan Dean & Yin Wesley, 2006. "Deposit Collectors," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(2), pages 1-24, March.
    2. Karlan, Dean & McConnell, Margaret & Mullainathan, Sendhil & Zinman, Jonathan, 2010. "Getting to the Top of Mind: How Reminders Increase Saving," Working Papers 82, Yale University, Department of Economics.
    3. Jean-Marie Baland & Catherine Guirkinger & Charlotte Mali, 2011. "Pretending to Be Poor: Borrowing to Escape Forced Solidarity in Cameroon," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 60(1), pages 1 - 16.
    4. William Jack & Tavneet Suri, 2011. "Mobile Money: The Economics of M-PESA," NBER Working Papers 16721, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Pascaline Dupas & Jonathan Robinson, 2013. "Savings Constraints and Microenterprise Development: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Kenya," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 163-92, January.
    6. Erica Field & Seema Jayachandran & Rohini Pande, 2010. "Do Traditional Institutions Constrain Female Entrepreneurship? A Field Experiment on Business Training in India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 125-29, May.
    7. Annamaria Lusardi, 2008. "Household Saving Behavior: The Role of Financial Literacy, Information, and Financial Education Programs," NBER Working Papers 13824, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Martin Valdivia & Dean Karlan, 2006. "Teaching Entrepreneurship: Impact of Business Training on Microfinance Clients and Institutions," Working Papers 941, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
    9. Siwan Anderson, 2000. "The Economics of Roscas and Intra-Household Resource Allocation," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1323, Econometric Society.
    10. Shawn Cole & Thomas Sampson & Bilal Zia, 2011. "Prices or Knowledge? What Drives Demand for Financial Services in Emerging Markets?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 66(6), pages 1933-1967, December.
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