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Allocating Cash Savings and the Role of Information: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Uganda


  • Buehren, Niklas


Microfinance in general and microcredit programs in particular have attracted much attention among interest groups concerned with poverty eradication and are seen by many as highly promising means in order to alleviate poverty. More recently, the spotlight has turned increasingly on the development and promotion of microsaving devices and mechanisms suitable to the unbanked poor. Along these lines, the Saving Mobilization program implemented by BRAC in Uganda is an attempt to encourage a saving culture as well as overcoming barriers to make use of saving services at more formal financial institutions. Building on a randomized control trial, the aim of this study is to investigate the impact of this program on the saving behavior of participants. The intervention is successful in increasing the usage of semi-formal financial institutions on the extensive margin as well as to boost the amount held at these institutions. The total amount of savings, however, remains unaffected. Impact heterogeneity is important and the analysis shows that illiterate individuals as well as individuals having experienced theft in the recent past are more likely to respond to the program.

Suggested Citation

  • Buehren, Niklas, 2011. "Allocating Cash Savings and the Role of Information: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Uganda," Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Berlin 2011 16, Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:gdec11:16

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Dean Karlan & Margaret McConnell & Sendhil Mullainathan & Jonathan Zinman, 2016. "Getting to the Top of Mind: How Reminders Increase Saving," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 62(12), pages 3393-3411, December.
    2. Siwan Anderson & Jean-Marie Baland, 2002. "The Economics of Roscas and Intrahousehold Resource Allocation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(3), pages 963-995.
    3. Ashraf Nava & Karlan Dean & Yin Wesley, 2006. "Deposit Collectors," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(2), pages 1-24, March.
    4. Dean Karlan & Martin Valdivia, 2011. "Teaching Entrepreneurship: Impact of Business Training on Microfinance Clients and Institutions," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(2), pages 510-527, May.
    5. Alejandro Drexler & Greg Fischer & Antoinette Schoar, 2014. "Keeping It Simple: Financial Literacy and Rules of Thumb," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(2), pages 1-31, April.
    6. Shawn Cole & Thomas Sampson & Bilal Zia, 2011. "Prices or Knowledge? What Drives Demand for Financial Services in Emerging Markets?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 66(6), pages 1933-1967, December.
    7. Pascaline Dupas & Jonathan Robinson, 2013. "Savings Constraints and Microenterprise Development: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Kenya," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 163-192, January.
    8. William Jack & Tavneet Suri, 2011. "Mobile Money: The Economics of M-PESA," NBER Working Papers 16721, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Annamaria Lusardi, 2008. "Household Saving Behavior: The Role of Financial Literacy, Information, and Financial Education Programs," NBER Working Papers 13824, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Jean-Marie Baland & Catherine Guirkinger & Charlotte Mali, 2011. "Pretending to Be Poor: Borrowing to Escape Forced Solidarity in Cameroon," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 60(1), pages 1-16.
    11. Erica Field & Seema Jayachandran & Rohini Pande, 2010. "Do Traditional Institutions Constrain Female Entrepreneurship? A Field Experiment on Business Training in India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 125-129, May.
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    More about this item


    Microfinance; saving promotion; theft; literacy; Uganda;

    JEL classification:

    • D04 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Policy: Formulation; Implementation; Evaluation
    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • O16 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance

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