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The Debt Puzzle in Dhaka’s Slums: Do Poor People Co-hold for Liquidity Needs?

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  • Carolina Laureti

Abstract

We observe the usage of the flexible savings-and-loan accounts offered by SafeSave, a microfinance institution serving poor slum dwellers in Dhaka, Bangladesh. We find that 59% of the clients borrow at high interest rates and simultaneously hold low-yield liquid savings. Our main finding is that this apparent behavioural anomaly cannot be attributed to liquidity needs. In contrast, we show that co-holders are more likely to be workers subject to low-income risk. An alternative explanation is that co-holders take up costly loans they do not need to escape forced solidarity vis-à-vis family members and friends.

Suggested Citation

  • Carolina Laureti, 2015. "The Debt Puzzle in Dhaka’s Slums: Do Poor People Co-hold for Liquidity Needs?," Working Papers CEB 15-021, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  • Handle: RePEc:sol:wpaper:2013/199893
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Liquidity; uncertainty; precautionary savings; microfinance; Bangladesh;

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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