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Social Capital, Network Effects and Savings in Rural Vietnam


  • Newman, Carol
  • Tarp, Finn
  • van den Broeck, Katleen


Information failures are a major barrier to formal financial saving in low income countries. Households in rural communities often lack the information necessary to set up formal deposit accounts or are uncertain about the returns to saving formally. In this paper, we explore the extent to which social networks in rural Vietnam can play a role in increasing formal savings where knowledge gaps exist. Networks are defined as active membership of women´s unions and the quality of networks is measured by the level of formal savings observed among group members. We find that membership of high quality networks leads to higher levels of saving in formal financial institutions and to higher levels of saving for productive investments as compared with other precautionary or lifecycle motives. Our results suggest that transmitting financial information through formal networks could be effective in increasing formal savings at grassroots level. We also conclude that ensuring information disseminated by networks is both accurate and desirable as well as important given that behavioural effects are also found in low-quality networks.

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  • Newman, Carol & Tarp, Finn & van den Broeck, Katleen, 2012. "Social Capital, Network Effects and Savings in Rural Vietnam," WIDER Working Paper Series 039, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  • Handle: RePEc:unu:wpaper:wp2012-39

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Shawn Cole & Xavier Gine & Jeremy Tobacman & Petia Topalova & Robert Townsend & James Vickery, 2013. "Barriers to Household Risk Management: Evidence from India," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 104-135, January.
    2. Fafchamps, Marcel & Udry, Christopher & Czukas, Katherine, 1998. "Drought and saving in West Africa: are livestock a buffer stock?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 273-305, April.
    3. Ethan Ligon & Jonathan P. Thomas & Tim Worrall, 2002. "Informal Insurance Arrangements with Limited Commitment: Theory and Evidence from Village Economies," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(1), pages 209-244.
    4. Timothy Conley & Udry Christopher, 2001. "Social Learning Through Networks: The Adoption of New Agricultural Technologies in Ghana," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 83(3), pages 668-673.
    5. Carol Newman & Fiona Wainwright, 2011. "Income Shocks and Household Risk-Coping Strategies: Evidence from Rural Vietnam," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp358, IIIS.
    6. Wooldridge, Jeffrey M., 1995. "Selection corrections for panel data models under conditional mean independence assumptions," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 115-132, July.
    7. Fafchamps, Marcel & Lund, Susan, 2003. "Risk-sharing networks in rural Philippines," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 261-287, August.
    8. Fafchamps, Marcel & Gubert, Flore, 2007. "The formation of risk sharing networks," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 326-350, July.
    9. repec:dau:papers:123456789/4392 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Aizer, Anna & Currie, Janet, 2004. "Networks or neighborhoods? Correlations in the use of publicly-funded maternity care in California," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(12), pages 2573-2585, December.
    11. T. Parker Ballinger & Michael G. Palumbo & Nathaniel T. Wilcox, 2003. "Precautionary saving and social learning across generations: an experiment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(490), pages 920-947, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Markussen Thomas, 2015. "Social and political capital in rural Viet Nam," WIDER Working Paper Series 087, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    2. Ha van Dung, 2014. "Short-term precaution, insurance and saving mechanisms in rural Vietnam," Working Papers CIE 82, Paderborn University, CIE Center for International Economics.
    3. Newman Carol & Kinghan Christina, 2015. "Social Capital, Political Connections, and Household Enterprises: Evidence from Vietnam," WIDER Working Paper Series 001, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).

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    Business networks; Financial institutions; Households; Saving and investment; Women;

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