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Why Don't the Poor Save More? Evidence from Health Savings Experiments

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  • Dupas, Pascaline
  • Robinson, Jonathan

Abstract

Using data from a field experiment in Kenya, we document that providing individuals with simple informal savings technologies can substantially increase investment in preventative health and reduce vulnerability to health shocks. Simply providing a safe place to keep money was sufficient to increase health savings, through a mental accounting effect. Adding an earmarking feature was only helpful when funds were put towards emergencies; earmarking for preventative health reduced savings on average, because the liquidity cost of tying up money was too great. Providing social pressure and credit through a ROSCA-based savings scheme had very large effects.

Suggested Citation

  • Dupas, Pascaline & Robinson, Jonathan, 2012. "Why Don't the Poor Save More? Evidence from Health Savings Experiments," Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt94w3m4r9, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:ucscec:qt94w3m4r9
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Social and Behavioral Sciences; Personal Finance; Intertemporal Consumer Choice; Life Cycle Models and Saving; Saving and Capital Investment; Financial Markets; Kenya; Informal Savings Technology; ROSCA; Preventative Health;
    All these keywords.

    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
    • O16 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance

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