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Loose Knots: Strong versus Weak Commitments to Save for Education in Uganda

Listed author(s):
  • Dean Karlan
  • Leigh L. Linden

Commitment devices offer an opportunity to restrict future choices. However, strict commitments may deter participation. Using a school-based commitment savings program for educational expenses in Uganda, we compare an account fully-committed to educational expenses to an account with a weaker commitment (funds withdrawn in cash, rather than a voucher). The weaker commitment generates higher account savings, and when combined with a parental outreach generates higher educational supplies expenditures and 0.11 standard deviation higher math and language test scores. We find no effect from the fully-committed account, and no effect for either account on attendance, enrollment, or non-cognitive skills.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w19863.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19863.

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Date of creation: Jan 2014
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19863
Note: DEV LE LS
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  1. Francesco Avvisati & Marc Gurgand & Nina Guyon & Eric Maurin, 2014. "Getting Parents Involved: A Field Experiment in Deprived Schools," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 81(1), pages 57-83.
  2. Hidalgo, Diana & Onofa, Mercedes & Oosterbeek, Hessel & Ponce, Juan, 2013. "Can provision of free school uniforms harm attendance? Evidence from Ecuador," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 43-51.
  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, 03.
  4. 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 167-195, April.
  5. 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, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(2), pages 635-672.
  6. Carla Bertoncino & Paud Murphy & Lianqin Wang, 2002. "Achieving Universal Primary Education in Uganda : The ‘Big Bang’ Approach," World Bank Other Operational Studies 10412, The World Bank.
  7. Dean Karlan, Aishwarya Lakshmi Ratan, Jonathan Zinman, 2013. "Savings by and for the Poor: A Research Review and Agenda-Working Paper 346," Working Papers 346, Center for Global Development.
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