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What Are the Headwaters of Formal Savings? Experimental Evidence from Sri Lanka

Author

Listed:
  • Callen, Michael

    (Harvard University)

  • De Mel, Suresh

    (University of Peradeniya)

  • McIntosh, Craig

    (University of CA, San Diego)

  • Woodruff, Christopher

    (University of Warwick)

Abstract

When households increase their deposits in formal bank savings accounts, what is the source of the money? We combine high-frequency surveys with an experiment in which a Sri Lankan bank used mobile Point-of-Service (POS) terminals to collect deposits directly from households each week. In this context, the headwaters of formal savings are to be found in sacrificed leisure time: households work more, and work more on the wage market when savings options improve. These results suggest that the labor allocation channel is an important mechanism linking savings opportunities to income.

Suggested Citation

  • Callen, Michael & De Mel, Suresh & McIntosh, Craig & Woodruff, Christopher, 2015. "What Are the Headwaters of Formal Savings? Experimental Evidence from Sri Lanka," Working Paper Series rwp15-011, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecl:harjfk:rwp15-011
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    Cited by:

    1. Pascaline Dupas & Dean Karlan & Jonathan Robinson & Diego Ubfal, 2018. "Banking the Unbanked? Evidence from Three Countries," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 10(2), pages 257-297, April.
    2. repec:eee:deveco:v:133:y:2018:i:c:p:275-294 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. 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.
    4. Joshua Blumenstock & Michael Callen & Tarek Ghani, 2017. "Why Do Defaults Affect Behavior? Experimental Evidence from Afghanistan," NBER Working Papers 23590, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Suresh de Mel & Craig McIntosh & Christopher Woodruff, 2013. "Deposit Collecting: Unbundling the Role of Frequency, Salience, and Habit Formation in Generating Savings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(3), pages 387-392, May.
    6. Blumenstock, Joshua & Callen, Michael & Ghani, Tarek, 2017. "Why Do Defaults Affect Behavior? Experimental Evidence from Afghanistan," CEPR Discussion Papers 12142, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Vincent Somville & Lore Vandewalle, 2017. "Access to Formal Banking and Household Finances: Experimental Evidence from India," CMI Working Papers 1, CMI (Chr. Michelsen Institute), Bergen, Norway.
    8. Pierre Bachas & Paul Gertler & Sean Higgins & Enrique Seira, 2017. "How Debit Cards Enable the Poor to Save More," NBER Working Papers 23252, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Flory, Jeffrey A., 2014. "Banking the Poor: Evidence from a Savings Field Experiment in Malawi," 2014 Annual Meeting, July 27-29, 2014, Minneapolis, Minnesota 171879, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    10. Dupas, Pascaline & Keats, Anthony & Robinson, Jonathan, 2015. "The Effect of Savings Accounts on Interpersonal Financial Relationships: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Rural Kenya," CEPR Discussion Papers 10689, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    11. Blumenstock, Joshua & Callen, Michael & Ghani, Tarek, 2016. "Mobile-izing Savings with Automatic Contributions: Experimental Evidence on Present Bias and Default Effects in Afghanistan," CEPR Discussion Papers 11400, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • O16 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance

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