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Hyperbolic Discounting and the Sustainability of Rotational Savings Arrangements

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  • Karna Basu

Abstract

People across the developing world join rotational savings and credit associations (roscas) to fund repeated purchases of nondivisible goods. When the scope for punishment is weak, there is a natural question about why agents not defect from roscas. This paper models roscas as commitment savings devices and derives conditions under which hyperbolic discounters will never defect, even in the absence of formal contracting, social punishment, and reputation. I show why, unlike with standard commitment devices, a hyperbolic discounter will not postpone entry into a rosca. Finally, this paper makes predictions about the relative survival of random and fixed roscas. (JEL D14, D91, O12)

Suggested Citation

  • Karna Basu, 2011. "Hyperbolic Discounting and the Sustainability of Rotational Savings Arrangements," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 143-171, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmic:v:3:y:2011:i:4:p:143-71
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/mic.3.4.143
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    Cited by:

    1. Esther Duflo, 2012. "Women Empowerment and Economic Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 50(4), pages 1051-1079, December.
    2. 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.
    3. Lori Beaman & Dean Karlan & Bram Thuysbaert, 2014. "Saving for a (not so) Rainy Day: A Ramdomized Evaluation of Savings Groups in Mali," Working Papers 1043, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
    4. Lester Lusher, 2016. "College Better: Parimutuel Betting Markets as a Commitment Device and Monetary Incentive," Natural Field Experiments 00561, The Field Experiments Website.
    5. Matthias Fahn & Hendrik Hakenes, 2014. "Teamwork as a Self-Disciplining Device," CESifo Working Paper Series 5131, CESifo Group Munich.
    6. B. Douglas Bernheim & Debraj Ray & Şevin Yeltekin, 2015. "Poverty and Self‐Control," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 83(5), pages 1877-1911, September.
    7. Angelucci, Manuela & Karlan, Dean & Zinman, Jonathan, 2013. "Win Some Lose Some? Evidence from a Randomized Microcredit Program Placement Experiment by Compartamos Banco," Working Papers 117, Yale University, Department of Economics.
    8. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Esther Duflo, 2010. "Giving Credit Where It Is Due," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(3), pages 61-80, Summer.
    9. Michal Bauer & Julie Chytilova & Jonathan Morduch, 2012. "Behavioral Foundations of Microcredit: Experimental and Survey Evidence from Rural India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(2), pages 1118-1139, April.
    10. Miriam Sinn, 2013. "Sequential Group Lending: A Mechanism to Raise the Repayment Rate in Microfinance," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 80(318), pages 326-344, April.
    11. 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 1138-1171, June.
    12. Travis J. Lybbert & Bruce Wydick, 2017. "Hope as Aspirations, Agency, and Pathways: Poverty Dynamics and Microfinance in Oaxaca, Mexico," NBER Chapters,in: The Economics of Poverty Traps National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Basu, Karna, 2014. "Commitment savings in informal banking markets," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 97-111.
    14. Casaburi, Lorenzo & Macchiavello, Rocco, 2015. "Firm and Market Response to Saving Constraints: Evidence from the Kenyan Dairy Industry," CEPR Discussion Papers 10952, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    15. Manuela Angelucci, Dean Karlan, Jonathan Zinman, 2013. "Win Some Lose Some? Evidence from a Randomized Microcredit Program Placement Experiment by Compartamos Banco-Working Paper 330," Working Papers 330, Center for Global Development.
    16. Matthias Fahn & Hendrik Hakenes, 2014. "Teamwork as a Self-Disciplining Device," CESifo Working Paper Series 5131, CESifo Group Munich.
    17. Carlsson, Fredrik & Yang, Xiaojun, 2013. "Intertemporal Choice Shifts in Households: Do they occur and are they good?," Working Papers in Economics 569, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    18. Basu, Karna, 2009. "A behavioral model of simultaneous borrowing and saving," MPRA Paper 20442, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    19. Francesco Reito & Salvatore Spagano, 2014. "A Comparison between Formal and Informal Mutual-credit Arrangements," The Developing Economies, Institute of Developing Economies, vol. 52(2), pages 179-201, June.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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