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Deposit Collecting: Unbundling the Role of Frequency, Salience, and Habit Formation in Generating Savings

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  • Suresh de Mel
  • Craig McIntosh
  • Christopher Woodruff

Abstract

We report on a field experiment using several methods for collecting deposits made in formal bank accounts in rural areas in Sri Lanka. We find that only frequent, face-to-face collection increases aggregate household savings. Collection involving community lock boxes increases balances at the collecting bank, but not overall household savings. Only community box collection appears to have the possibility of being financially viable. The various collection methods allow us to unbundle the role of frequency, salience and habit formation in deposit decisions. We find that frequency and salience affect the number of transactions, but not the level of savings.

Suggested Citation

  • Suresh de Mel & Craig McIntosh & Christopher Woodruff, 2013. "Deposit Collecting: Unbundling the Role of Frequency, Salience, and Habit Formation in Generating Savings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(3), pages 387-392, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:103:y:2013:i:3:p:387-92
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.103.3.387
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Dean Karlan & Margaret McConnell & Sendhil Mullainathan & Jonathan Zinman, 2016. "Getting to the Top of Mind: How Reminders Increase Saving," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 62(12), pages 3393-3411, December.
    2. Michael Callen & Suresh de Mel & Craig McIntosh & Christopher Woodruff, 2019. "What Are the Headwaters of Formal Savings? Experimental Evidence from Sri Lanka," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 86(6), pages 2491-2529.
    3. Craig McIntosh, 2008. "Estimating Treatment Effects from Spatial Policy Experiments: An Application to Ugandan Microfinance," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(1), pages 15-28, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Simone Schaner, 2018. "The Persistent Power of Behavioral Change: Long-Run Impacts of Temporary Savings Subsidies for the Poor," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 10(3), pages 67-100, July.
    2. Walker, Sarah, 2020. "Historical legacies in savings: Evidence from Romania," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 76-99.
    3. Loibl, Cäzilia & Jones, Lauren & Haisley, Emily, 2018. "Testing strategies to increase saving in individual development account programs," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 45-63.
    4. Carolina Laureti, 2017. "Why do Poor People Co-hold Debt and Liquid Savings?," Working Papers CEB 17-007, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • O16 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance

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