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Motivating Migrants: A Field Experiment on Financial Decision-Making in Transnational Households

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  • Ganesh Seshan
  • Dean Yang

Abstract

We randomly assigned male migrant workers in Qatar invitations to a motivational workshop aimed at improving financial habits and encouraging joint decision-making with spouses back home in India. 13-17 months later, we surveyed migrants and wives to estimate intent-to-treat impacts in their transnational households. Wives of treated migrants changed their financial practices, and became more likely to seek out financial education themselves. Treated migrants and their wives became more likely to make joint decisions on money matters. Treatment effects on financial outcomes show potential heterogeneity, with those with lower prior savings saving differentially more than those with higher prior savings.

Suggested Citation

  • Ganesh Seshan & Dean Yang, 2014. "Motivating Migrants: A Field Experiment on Financial Decision-Making in Transnational Households," NBER Working Papers 19805, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19805
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    5. Michael A. Clemens, 2018. "Testing for Repugnance in Economic Transactions: Evidence from Guest Work in the Gulf," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 47(S1), pages 5-44.
    6. Doi, Yoko & McKenzie, David & Zia, Bilal, 2014. "Who you train matters: Identifying combined effects of financial education on migrant households," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 39-55.
    7. Melissa Siegel, 2017. "Commentaires sur « Des politiques migratoires pour promouvoir le développement »," Revue d’économie du développement, De Boeck Université, vol. 25(1), pages 97-103.
    8. Entorf, Horst & Hou, Jia, 2018. "Financial Education for the Disadvantaged? A Review," IZA Discussion Papers 11515, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    9. Tim Kaiser & Lukas Menkhoff, 2017. "Does Financial Education Impact Financial Literacy and Financial Behavior, and If So, When?," The World Bank Economic Review, World Bank, vol. 31(3), pages 611-630.
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    12. Teresa Molina Millan & Karen Macours, 2017. "Attrition in randomized control trials: Using tracking information to correct bias," NOVAFRICA Working Paper Series wp1702, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Nova School of Business and Economics, NOVAFRICA.
    13. McKenzie, David & Mohpal, Aakash & Yang, Dean, 2022. "Aspirations and financial decisions: Experimental evidence from the Philippines," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 156(C).
    14. Tabe-Ojong, Martin Paul Jr & Heckelei, Thomas & Rasch, Sebastian, 2022. "Aspirations and Investments in Livestock: Evidence of an aspiration failure in Kenya," 2022 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, Anaheim, California 322435, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
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    16. David McKenzie & Dean Yang, 2015. "Evidence on Policies to Increase the Development Impacts of International Migration," The World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 30(2), pages 155-192.
    17. Bruhn, Miriam & Lara Ibarra, Gabriel & McKenzie, David, 2014. "The minimal impact of a large-scale financial education program in Mexico City," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 184-189.
    18. Barua, Rashmi & Shastry, Gauri Kartini & Yang, Dean, 2020. "Financial education for female foreign domestic workers in Singapore," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 78(C).
    19. Tabe-Ojong, Jr., Martin Paul & Godana, Guyo, 2022. "Are Agro-clusters Pro-Poor? Evidence from Ethiopia," 2022 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, Anaheim, California 322432, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    20. Martin Paul Jr. Tabe‐Ojong & Thomas Heckelei & Sebastian Rasch, 2023. "Aspirations and investments in livestock: Evidence of aspiration failure in Kenya," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 54(5), pages 674-696, September.
    21. Skotnicka, Magdalena & Karwowska, Kaja & Śmiechowska, Maria, 2018. "The Problem of Food Waste in Different Types of Households on the Example of the Residents of Poland and Polish People Residing in the United Kingdom – Pilot Study," Problems of World Agriculture / Problemy Rolnictwa Światowego, Warsaw University of Life Sciences, vol. 18(33, Part ), September.
    22. Samuel Nocito & Alessandra Venturini, 2022. "Does Cooperation among Institutions Foster Migrants Inclusion? Evidence from a Case-Study on Financial Literacy in Italy," Working Papers 10/22, Sapienza University of Rome, DISS.
    23. Ur Rehman, Obeid, 2023. "Spousal communication and information sharing: Evidence from migrants and their spouses," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 165(C).
    24. Ambler, Kate & Jones, Kelly M. & O’Sullivan, Michael, 2021. "Increasing Women's Empowerment: Implications for Family Welfare," IZA Discussion Papers 14861, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • F24 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Remittances
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O16 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance

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