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Hyperbolic discounting and the sustainability of rotational savings arrangements

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  • Basu, Karna

Abstract

People across the developing world join rotational savings and credit associations (roscas) to fund repeated purchases of nondivisible goods. When the scope for punishment is weak, there is a natural question about why agents do not defect from these groups. I model a rosca as a commitment savings device for hyperbolic discounters. Roscas are attractive for two reasons: the possibility of getting the nondivisible good early (the standard reason), and the fixed saving requirement (valued only by time-inconsistent agents). I find explicit conditions under which an agent strictly prefers to remain in a rosca, even in the absence of formal contracting or social punishment. I show why, unlike with standard commitment products, a hyperbolic discounter will not postpone entry into a rosca. Finally, this paper makes predictions about the relative survival of random and fixed roscas. Random roscas are more resilient and beneficial than fixed roscas when information is limited and matching for new roscas is fast.

Suggested Citation

  • Basu, Karna, 2008. "Hyperbolic discounting and the sustainability of rotational savings arrangements," MPRA Paper 20440, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:20440
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    Cited by:

    1. B. Douglas Bernheim & Debraj Ray & Şevin Yeltekin, 2015. "Poverty and Self‐Control," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 83(5), pages 1877-1911, September.
    2. Michal Bauer & Julie Chytilova & Jonathan Morduch, 2012. "Behavioral Foundations of Microcredit: Experimental and Survey Evidence from Rural India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(2), pages 1118-1139, April.
    3. Fahn, Matthias & Hakenes, Hendrik, 2017. "Teamwork as a Self-Disciplining Device," Rationality and Competition Discussion Paper Series 42, CRC TRR 190 Rationality and Competition.
    4. Esther Duflo, 2012. "Women Empowerment and Economic Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 50(4), pages 1051-1079, December.
    5. Lori Beaman & Dean Karlan & Bram Thuysbaert, 2014. "Saving for a (not so) Rainy Day: A Ramdomized Evaluation of Savings Groups in Mali," Working Papers 1043, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
    6. Angelucci, Manuela & Karlan, Dean & Zinman, Jonathan, 2013. "Win Some Lose Some? Evidence from a Randomized Microcredit Program Placement Experiment by Compartamos Banco," Working Papers 117, Yale University, Department of Economics.
    7. Carlsson, Fredrik & Yang, Xiaojun, 2013. "Intertemporal Choice Shifts in Households: Do they occur and are they good?," Working Papers in Economics 569, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    8. Lester Lusher, 2016. "College Better: Parimutuel Betting Markets as a Commitment Device and Monetary Incentive," Natural Field Experiments 00561, The Field Experiments Website.
    9. Travis J. Lybbert & Bruce Wydick, 2017. "Hope as Aspirations, Agency, and Pathways: Poverty Dynamics and Microfinance in Oaxaca, Mexico," NBER Chapters,in: The Economics of Poverty Traps National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Matthias Fahn & Hendrik Hakenes, 2014. "Teamwork as a Self-Disciplining Device," CESifo Working Paper Series 5131, CESifo Group Munich.
    11. Basu, Karna, 2009. "A behavioral model of simultaneous borrowing and saving," MPRA Paper 20442, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. Casaburi, Lorenzo & Macchiavello, Rocco, 2015. "Firm and Market Response to Saving Constraints: Evidence from the Kenyan Dairy Industry," CEPR Discussion Papers 10952, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    13. Manuela Angelucci, Dean Karlan, Jonathan Zinman, 2013. "Win Some Lose Some? Evidence from a Randomized Microcredit Program Placement Experiment by Compartamos Banco-Working Paper 330," Working Papers 330, Center for Global Development.
    14. Bengtsson, Niklas & Pettersson, Jan, 2012. "The Outreach and Sustainability of Microfinance: Is There a Tradeoff?," Working Paper Series, Center for Labor Studies 2012:18, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    15. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Esther Duflo, 2010. "Giving Credit Where It Is Due," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(3), pages 61-80, Summer.
    16. Basu, Karna, 2014. "Commitment savings in informal banking markets," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 97-111.
    17. Pascaline Dupas & Jonathan Robinson, 2013. "Why Don't the Poor Save More? Evidence from Health Savings Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(4), pages 1138-1171, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    hyperbolic discounting; roscas; quasi-hyperbolic discounting; saving;

    JEL classification:

    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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