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Mental accounting and remittances: A study of rural Malawian households

  • Davies, Simon
  • Easaw, Joshy
  • Ghoshray, Atanu

In this paper we use a behavioural approach to studying household consumption behaviour in Malawi. In particular we are interested to know whether households use mental accounting when consuming different categories of good. It is useful for assessing the impact of remittances on household consumption behaviour. We use 1998 cross-sectional data to find the following key results: (i) mental accounting systems are in operation; (ii) remittance income exhibits a lower marginal propensity to consume than other income sources, (iii) remittances are widely used to fund education consumption, (iv) credit plays an important role in funding education and farming.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Psychology.

Volume (Year): 30 (2009)
Issue (Month): 3 (June)
Pages: 321-334

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Handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:30:y:2009:i:3:p:321-334
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/joep

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  1. Adams, Richard H, Jr, 1998. "Remittances, Investment, and Rural Asset Accumulation in Pakistan," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 47(1), pages 155-73, October.
  2. Alejandra Cox Edwards & Manuelita Ureta, 2003. "International Migration, Remittances, and Schooling: Evidence from El Salvador," NBER Working Papers 9766, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  4. Jean-Paul Azam & Flore Gubert, 2005. "Those in Kayes. The Impact of Remittances on Their Recipients in Africa," Revue économique, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 56(6), pages 1331-1358.
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  9. Edwards, Alejandra Cox & Ureta, Manuelita, 2003. "International migration, remittances, and schooling: evidence from El Salvador," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 429-461, December.
  10. Winnett, Adrian & Lewis, Alan, 1995. "Household accounts, mental accounts, and savings behaviour: Some old economics rediscovered?," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 431-448, September.
  11. Ralph Chami & Connel Fullenkamp & Samir Jahjah, 2005. "Are Immigrant Remittance Flows a Source of Capital for Development?," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 52(1), pages 55-81, April.
  12. Mathias Dewatripont & Isabelle Brocas & Juan Carrillo, 2004. "Commitment devices under self-control problems: an overview," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/9665, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  13. Katz, Elizabeth G., 1995. "Gender and trade within the household: Observations from rural guatemala," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 327-342, February.
  14. Milton Friedman, 1957. "A Theory of the Consumption Function," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number frie57-1, August.
  15. Sarah Harrower & John Hoddinott, 2005. "Consumption Smoothing in the Zone Lacustre, Mali," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 14(4), pages 489-519, December.
  16. Udry, Christopher, 1990. "Credit Markets in Northern Nigeria: Credit as Insurance in a Rural Economy," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 4(3), pages 251-69, September.
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  18. Levin, Laurence, 1998. "Are assets fungible?: Testing the behavioral theory of life-cycle savings," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 59-83, July.
  19. Adams, Richard H, Jr, 1991. "The Economic Uses and Impact of International Remittances in Rural Egypt," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 39(4), pages 695-722, July.
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