Savings behaviour in low-income countries
The empirical literature on savings in low-income countries has exploited some remarkable data sets to shed new light on savings behaviour in the poor agricultural households that make up the majority of the population in such countries. A number of conclusions have emerged: (i) the degree of consumption smoothing over seasons within the year and across years, in response to very large income fluctuations, is higher than was supposed; (ii) the lack of complete insurance and credit markets, however, is manifested in asset stocks and asset compositions among farmers, especially small farmers, that are inefficient; (iii) the combination of low and volatile incomes is an important cause of inefficiency and income inequality; (iv) the proximity of formal financial institutions increases financial savings and crowds out informal insurance arrangements, thus, in principle, better facilitating financial intermediation; and (iv) simple life-cycle models of savings do not appear to explain long-term savings in low-income settings. Copyright 2001, Oxford University Press.
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