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Why do Poor People Co-hold Debt and Liquid Savings?

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  • Carolina Laureti

Abstract

I examine the use of flexible savings-and-loan accounts offered by SafeSave, a microfinance institution serving poor slum dwellers in Dhaka, Bangladesh. I find that 59% of the clients co-hold, meaning that they borrow at high interest rates and simultaneously hold low-yield liquid savings. Co-holders could immediately pay down, on average, 32 per cent of their debt using liquid savings and thus avoid significant interest payments. The results show that co-holders are more likely to be regular workers subject to little income uncertainty, suggesting that co-holding is not a consequence of liquidity needs. The paper discusses alternative explanations.

Suggested Citation

  • Carolina Laureti, 2017. "Why do Poor People Co-hold Debt and Liquid Savings?," Working Papers CEB 17-007, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  • Handle: RePEc:sol:wpaper:2013/246900
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Carolina Laureti & Alain De Janvry & Elisabeth Sadoulet, 2017. "Flexible Microfinance Products for Financial Management by the Poor: Evidence from SafeSave," Working Papers CEB 17-036, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Liquidity; uncertainty; precautionary savings; microfinance; Bangladesh;

    JEL classification:

    • D30 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - General
    • 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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