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Banking the Unbanked? Evidence from Three Countries

Listed author(s):
  • Dean Karlan

    ()

    (Economic Growth Center, Yale University)

  • Pascaline Dupas

    ()

    (Stanford University)

  • Jonathan Robinson

    ()

    (University of California Santa Cruz)

  • Diego Ubfal

    ()

    (Bocconi University)

We experimentally test the impact of expanding access to basic bank accounts in Uganda, Malawi, and Chile. Over two years, 17%, 10%, and 3% of treatment individuals made five or more deposits, respectively. Average monthly deposits for them were at the 79th, 91st, and 96th percentiles of baseline savings. Survey data show no clearly discernible intention-to-treat effects on savings or any downstream outcomes. This suggests that policies merely focused on expanding access to basic accounts are unlikely to improve welfare noticeably since impacts, even if present, are likely small and diverse.

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File URL: http://egcenter.economics.yale.edu/sites/default/files/files/CDP-cdp1001-cdp1100/cdp1055.pdf
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Paper provided by Economic Growth Center, Yale University in its series Working Papers with number 1055.

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Length: 54 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2016
Handle: RePEc:egc:wpaper:1055
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Web page: http://www.econ.yale.edu/

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  1. Michael Callen & Suresh De Mel & Craig McIntosh & Christopher Woodruff, 2014. "What are the Headwaters of Formal Savings? Experimental Evidence from Sri Lanka," Working Papers id:6265, eSocialSciences.
  2. Lore Vandewalle & Vincent Somville, 2015. "Saving by Default: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Rural India," IHEID Working Papers 01-2015, Economics Section, The Graduate Institute of International Studies, revised 31 Mar 2016.
  3. Dean Karlan & Aishwarya Lakshmi Ratan & Jonathan Zinman, 2014. "Savings by and for the Poor: A Research Review and Agenda," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 60(1), pages 36-78, March.
  4. Ashraf Nava & Karlan Dean & Yin Wesley, 2006. "Deposit Collectors," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(2), pages 1-24, March.
  5. Felipe Kast & Dina Pomeranz, 2013. "Saving More to Borrow Less: Experimental Evidence from Access to Formal Savings Accounts in Chile," Harvard Business School Working Papers 14-001, Harvard Business School, revised Jun 2014.
  6. Pascaline Dupas & Sarah Green & Anthony Keats & Jonathan Robinson, 2014. "Challenges in Banking the Rural Poor: Evidence from Kenya's Western Province," NBER Chapters,in: African Successes, Volume III: Modernization and Development, pages 63-101 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Simone Schaner, 2016. "The Persistent Power of Behavioral Change: Long-Run Impacts of Temporary Savings Subsidies for the Poor," NBER Working Papers 22534, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Demirguc-Kunt,Asli & Klapper,Leora & Singer,Dorothe & Van Oudheusden,Peter, 2015. "The Global Findex Database 2014 : measuring financial inclusion around the world," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7255, The World Bank.
  9. Prina, Silvia, 2015. "Banking the poor via savings accounts: Evidence from a field experiment," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 16-31.
  10. 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.
  11. Pascaline Dupas & Anthony Keats & Jonathan Robinson, 2015. "The Effect of Savings Accounts on Interpersonal Financial Relationships: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Rural Kenya," NBER Working Papers 21339, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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