IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Savings by and for the Poor: A Research Review and Agenda

  • Dean Karlan

    ()

    (Economic Growth Center, Yale University)

  • Aishwarya Lakshmi Ratan

    ()

    (Economic Growth Center, Yale University)

  • Jonathan Zinman

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Dartmouth College)

Registered author(s):

    The poor can and do save, but often use formal or informal instruments that have high risk, high cost, and sub-optimal design. This could lead to undersaving compared to a world without market or behavioral frictions. Undersaving has important welfare consequences: variable consumption, low resilience to shocks, and foregone profitable investments. We lay out five sets of constraints that may hinder the adoption and effective usage of savings products and services by the poor: transaction costs, lack of trust and regulatory barriers, information and knowledge gaps, social constraints and behavioral biases. We discuss each in theory, and then summarize related empirical evidence, with a focus on recent field experiments. We then put forward key open areas for research and practice.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL: http://www.econ.yale.edu/growth_pdf/cdp1027.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by Economic Growth Center, Yale University in its series Working Papers with number 1027.

    as
    in new window

    Length: 37 pages
    Date of creation: Jul 2013
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:egc:wpaper:1027
    Contact details of provider: Postal: PO Box 8269, New Haven CT 06520-8269
    Phone: (203) 432-3610
    Fax: (203) 432-3898
    Web page: http://www.econ.yale.edu/

    More information through EDIRC

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    as in new window
    1. Robin Burgess & Rohini Pande, 2003. "Do Rural Banks Matter? Evidence from the Indian Social Banking Experiment," STICERD - Development Economics Papers - From 2008 this series has been superseded by Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers 40, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
    2. Emmanuel Saez & Esther Duflo & Jeffrey Liebman & Peter Orszag & William Gale, 2005. "Saving incentives for low- and middle-income families: Evidence from a field experiment with h&r block," Framed Field Experiments 00234, The Field Experiments Website.
    3. John Karl Scholz & Ananth Seshadri & Surachai Khitatrakun, 2004. "Are Americans Saving "Optimally" for Retirement?," NBER Working Papers 10260, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Hossain Tanjim & Morgan John, 2006. "...Plus Shipping and Handling: Revenue (Non) Equivalence in Field Experiments on eBay," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(2), pages 1-30, January.
    5. Dean S. Karlan, 2005. "Using Experimental Economics to Measure Social Capital and Predict Financial Decisions," Working Papers 182, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies..
    6. Jakiela, Pamela & Ozier, Owen, 2012. "Does Africa need a rotten Kin Theorem ? experimental evidence from village economies," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6085, The World Bank.
    7. Bertrand, Marianne & Karlan, Dean & Mullainathan, Sendhil & Shafir, Eldar & Zinman, Jonathan, 2009. "What's Advertising Content Worth? Evidence from a Consumer Credit Marketing Field Experiment," Working Papers 58, Yale University, Department of Economics.
    8. Mills, Gregory & Gale, William G. & Patterson, Rhiannon & Engelhardt, Gary V. & Eriksen, Michael D. & Apostolov, Emil, 2008. "Effects of individual development accounts on asset purchases and saving behavior: Evidence from a controlled experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(5-6), pages 1509-1530, June.
    9. S. Dellavigna., 2011. "Psychology and Economics: Evidence from the Field," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 4.
    10. Xavier Giné & Jessica Goldberg & Dan Silverman & Dean Yang, 2012. "Revising Commitments: Field Evidence on the Adjustment of Prior Choices," NBER Working Papers 18065, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Udry, Christopher, 1994. "Risk and Insurance in a Rural Credit Market: An Empirical Investigation in Northern Nigeria," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(3), pages 495-526, July.
    12. Marianne Bertrand & Adair Morse, 2011. "Information Disclosure, Cognitive Biases, and Payday Borrowing," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 66(6), pages 1865-1893, December.
    13. Stefano Dellavigna & Joshua M. Pollet, 2009. "Investor Inattention and Friday Earnings Announcements," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 64(2), pages 709-749, 04.
    14. Annamaria Lusardi & Peter Tufano, 2009. "Debt Literacy, Financial Experiences, and Overindebtedness," CeRP Working Papers 83, Center for Research on Pensions and Welfare Policies, Turin (Italy).
    15. Raj Chetty & John N. Friedman & Soren Leth-Petersen & Torben Nielsen & Tore Olsen, 2012. "Active vs. Passive Decisions and Crowdout in Retirement Savings Accounts: Evidence from Denmark," NBER Working Papers 18565, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Angelucci, Manuela & Karlan, Dean S. & Zinman, Jonathan, 2013. "Win Some Lose Some? Evidence from a Randomized Microcredit Program Placement Experiment by Compartamos Banco," CEPR Discussion Papers 9506, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    17. Jeffrey A. Flory, 2011. "Micro-Savings & Informal Insurance in Villages: How Financial Deepening Affects Safety Nets of the Poor, A Natural Field Experiment," Working Papers 2011-008, Becker Friedman Institute for Research In Economics.
    18. Richard Thaler & Shlomo Benartzi, 2004. "Save more tomorrow: Using behavioral economics to increase employee saving," Natural Field Experiments 00337, The Field Experiments Website.
    19. Richard H. Thaler & Shlomo Benartzi, 2004. "Save More Tomorrow (TM): Using Behavioral Economics to Increase Employee Saving," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(S1), pages S164-S187, February.
    20. Looney, Adam & Kroft, Kory & Chetty, Raj, 2009. "Salience and Taxation: Theory and Evidence," Scholarly Articles 9748525, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    21. Tom Coupe, 2011. "Mattresses versus Banks - The Effect of Trust on Portfolio Composition," Discussion Papers 40, Kyiv School of Economics.
    22. Townsend, Robert M, 1994. "Risk and Insurance in Village India," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(3), pages 539-91, May.
    23. Felipe Barrera-Osorio & Marianne Bertrand & Leigh L. Linden & Francisco Perez-Calle, 2011. "Improving the Design of Conditional Transfer Programs: Evidence from a Randomized Education Experiment in Colombia," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 167-95, April.
    24. Laura Schechter, 2005. "Traditional trust measurement and the risk confound: An experiment in rural paraguay," Artefactual Field Experiments 00106, The Field Experiments Website.
    25. Esther Duflo & Michael Kremer & Jonathan Robinson, 2009. "Nudging Farmers to Use Fertilizer: Theory and Experimental Evidence from Kenya," NBER Working Papers 15131, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    26. Xavier Gine & Jessica Goldberg & Dean Yang, 2012. "Credit Market Consequences of Improved Personal Identification: Field Experimental Evidence from Malawi," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(6), pages 2923-54, October.
    27. Brune, Lasse & Gine, Xavier & Goldberg, Jessica & Yang, Dean, 2011. "Commitments to save : a field experiment in rural Malawi," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5748, The World Bank.
    28. Gine, Xavier & Karlan, Dean & Zinman, Jonathan, 2009. "Put your money where your butt is : a commitment contract for smoking cessation," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4985, The World Bank.
    29. Kast, Felipe & Meier, Stephan & Pomeranz, Dina, 2012. "Under-Savers Anonymous: Evidence on Self-Help Groups and Peer Pressure as a Savings Commitment Device," IZA Discussion Papers 6311, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    30. Jonathan Robinson, 2012. "Limited Insurance within the Household: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Kenya," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 140-64, October.
    31. John Beshears & James J. Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte C. Madrian & Katherine L. Milkman, 2011. "The Effect of Providing Peer Information on Retirement Savings Decisions," NBER Working Papers 17345, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    32. Shawn Cole & Thomas Sampson & Bilal Zia, 2011. "Prices or Knowledge? What Drives Demand for Financial Services in Emerging Markets?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 66(6), pages 1933-1967, December.
    33. Xu, Lisa & Zia, Bilal, 2012. "Financial literacy around the world : an overview of the evidence with practical suggestions for the way forward," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6107, The World Bank.
    34. Nicola Jentzsch, 2009. "Financial Services for the Poor: Lack of Personal Identification Documents Impedes Access," Weekly Report, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 5(17), pages 114-121.
    35. Jenny Aker and Isaac M. Mbiti, 2010. "Mobile Phones and Economic Development in Africa," Working Papers 211, Center for Global Development.
    36. Carpena, Fenella & Cole, Shawn & Shapiro, Jeremy & Zia, Bilal, 2011. "Unpacking the causal chain of financial literacy," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5798, The World Bank.
    37. Nava Ashraf & Diego Aycinena & Claudia Martínez & Dean Yang, 2011. "Remittances and the Problem of Control: A Field Experiment Among Migrants from El Salvador," Working Papers wp341, University of Chile, Department of Economics.
    38. Nava Ashraf & Dean Karlan & Wesley Yin, 2006. "Tying Odysseus to the Mast: Evidence from a Commitment Savings Product in the Philippines," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(2), pages 635-672, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:egc:wpaper:1027. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Louise Danishevsky)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.