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Savings defaults and payment delays for cash transfers: field experimental evidence from Malawi

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  • Brune,Lasse Florian
  • Gine,Xavier
  • Goldberg,Jessica Ann
  • Yang,Dean

Abstract

Financial products and transfer schemes are often designed to help individuals improve welfare by following through on intertemporal plans. This paper implements an artefactual field experiment in Malawi to test the ability of households to manage a cash windfall. This study varies whether 474 households receive a payment in cash or through direct deposit into pre-established accounts at a local bank. Payments are made immediately, with one day delay, or with eight days delay. Defaulting the payments into savings accounts leads to higher bank account balances, an effect that persists for several weeks. However, neither savings defaults nor payment delays affect the amount or composition of spending, suggesting that households manage cash effectively without the use of formal financial products.

Suggested Citation

  • Brune,Lasse Florian & Gine,Xavier & Goldberg,Jessica Ann & Yang,Dean, 2016. "Savings defaults and payment delays for cash transfers: field experimental evidence from Malawi," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7807, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:7807
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    Cited by:

    1. Lorenzo Casaburi & Rocco Macchiavello, 2019. "Demand and Supply of Infrequent Payments as a Commitment Device: Evidence from Kenya," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 109(2), pages 523-555, February.
    2. Grohmann, Antonia & Klühs, Theres & Menkhoff, Lukas, 2018. "Does financial literacy improve financial inclusion? Cross country evidence," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 84-96.
    3. San Vicente Portes, Luis & Atal, Vidya & Juárez Torres, Miriam, 2019. "From households to national statistics: Macroeconomic effects of Women's empowerment," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 286-294.
    4. Demirdogen, Alper & Olhan, Emine, 2018. "The Timing Impact of Agricultural Support Policies on Farmers’ Stated Intentions in Turkey," 162nd Seminar, April 26-27, 2018, Budapest, Hungary 271960, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    5. 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.
    6. Joshua Blumenstock & Michael Callen & Tarek Ghani, 2018. "Why Do Defaults Affect Behavior? Experimental Evidence from Afghanistan," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 108(10), pages 2868-2901, October.
    7. Orazio Attanasio & Matthew Bird & Lina Cardona-Sosa & Pablo Lavado, 2019. "Freeing Financial Education via Tablets: Experimental Evidence from Colombia," NBER Working Papers 25929, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Eva Haaser & Melanie Koch, 2019. "Do Default Assignments Increase Savings of the Poor? Empirical Evidence," DIW Roundup: Politik im Fokus 130, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.

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