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Savings in Transnational Households: A Field Experiment among Migrants from El Salvador

Author

Listed:
  • Nava Ashraf
  • Diego Aycinena
  • Claudia Martinez
  • Dean Yang

Abstract

We implemented a randomized field experiment that tested ways to stimulate savings by international migrants in their origin country. We find that migrants value and take advantage of opportunities to exert greater control over financial activities in their home countries. In partnership with a Salvadoran bank, we offered U.S.-based migrants bank accounts in El Salvador. We randomly varied migrant control over El Salvador-based savings by offering different types of accounts across treatment groups. Migrants offered the greatest degree of control accumulated the most savings at the partner bank, compared to others offered less or no control over savings. Impacts are likely to represent increases in total savings: there is no evidence that savings increases were simply reallocated from other savings mechanisms. Enhanced control over home-country savings does not affect remittances sent home by migrants.

Suggested Citation

  • Nava Ashraf & Diego Aycinena & Claudia Martinez & Dean Yang, 2014. "Savings in Transnational Households: A Field Experiment among Migrants from El Salvador," NBER Working Papers 20024, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:20024
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Ambler, Kate, 2015. "Don't tell on me: Experimental evidence of asymmetric information in transnational households," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 113(C), pages 52-69.
    2. Ambrosius, Christian & Cuecuecha, Alfredo, 2014. "Do remittances increase borrowing?," Discussion Papers 2014/19, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
    3. Narciso Gaia, 2015. "Labour and migration in rural Vietnam," WIDER Working Paper Series 095, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    4. Murard, Elie, 2016. "Consumption and Leisure: The Welfare Impact of Migration on Family Left Behind," IZA Discussion Papers 10305, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. repec:eee:deveco:v:127:y:2017:i:c:p:1-12 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Anderson, D. Mark & Charles, Kerwin Kofi & Las Heras Olivares, Claudio & Rees, Daniel I., 2017. "Was the First Public Health Campaign Successful? The Tuberculosis Movement and its Effect on Mortality," IZA Discussion Papers 10590, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Batista, Catia & Silverman, Dan & Yang, Dean, 2015. "Directed giving: Evidence from an inter-household transfer experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 2-21.
    10. 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.
    11. Catia Batista & Janis Umblijs, 2016. "Do migrants send remittances as a way of self-insurance?," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 68(1), pages 108-130.
    12. Ambrosius, Christian & Cuecuecha, Alfredo, 2016. "Remittances and the Use of Formal and Informal Financial Services," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 80-98.
    13. repec:cai:edddbu:edd_311_0097 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Kate Ambler & Diego Aycinena & Dean Yang, 2015. "Channeling Remittances to Education: A Field Experiment among Migrants from El Salvador," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(2), pages 207-232, April.
    15. D. Mark Anderson & Kerwin Kofi Charles & Claudio Las Heras Olivares & Daniel I. Rees, 2017. "Was The First Public Health Campaign Successful? The Tuberculosis Movement and Its Effect on Mortality," NBER Working Papers 23219, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Molina Millán, Teresa, 2015. "Regional Migration, Insurance and Economic Shocks: Evidence from Nicaragua," IZA Discussion Papers 9494, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    17. Agha Ali Akram & Shyamal Chowdhury & Ahmed Mushfiq Mobarak, 2017. "Effects of Emigration on Rural Labor Markets," NBER Working Papers 23929, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Seshan, Ganesh & Yang, Dean, 2014. "Motivating migrants: A field experiment on financial decision-making in transnational households," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 119-127.
    19. Bertoli, Simone & Murard, Elie, 2017. "Migration and Co-Residence Choices: Evidence from Mexico," IZA Discussion Papers 11172, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    20. Anderson, D. Mark & Brown, Ryan & Charles, Kerwin Kofi & Rees, Daniel I., 2016. "The Effect of Occupational Licensing on Consumer Welfare: Early Midwifery Laws and Maternal Mortality," IZA Discussion Papers 10074, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    21. Flore Gubert, 2014. "The discourse and practice of co-development in Europe," Chapters,in: International Handbook on Migration and Economic Development, chapter 5, pages 113-151 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    22. Jean-Marie Baland & Roberta Ziparo, 2017. "Intra-household bargaining in poor countries," WIDER Working Paper Series 108, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • O16 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance

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