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The Persistent Power of Behavioral Change: Long-Run Impacts of Temporary Savings Subsidies for the Poor

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  • Simone Schaner

Abstract

This paper uses a field experiment to test whether intrahousehold heterogeneity in discount factors leads to inefficient strategic savings behavior. I gave married couples in rural Kenya the opportunity to open both joint and individual bank accounts at randomly assigned interest rates. I also directly elicited discount factors for all individuals in the experiment. Couples who are well matched on discount factors are less likely to use costly individual accounts and respond robustly to relative rates of return between accounts, while their poorly-matched peers do not. Consequently, poorly-matched couples forgo significantly more interest earnings on their savings.

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  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:10:y:2018:i:3:p:67-100
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.20170453
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • D90 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - General
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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