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American Economic Review: Vol. 103 No. 4 (June 2013)

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Why Don't the Poor Save More? Evidence from Health Savings Experiments

Article Citation

Dupas, Pascaline, and Jonathan Robinson. 2013. "Why Don't the Poor Save More? Evidence from Health Savings Experiments." American Economic Review, 103(4): 1138-71.

DOI: 10.1257/aer.103.4.1138

Abstract

Using data from a field experiment in Kenya, we document that providing individuals with simple informal savings technologies can substantially increase investment in preventative health and reduce vulnerability to health shocks. Simply providing a safe place to keep money was sufficient to increase health savings by 66 percent. Adding an earmarking feature was only helpful when funds were put toward emergencies, or for individuals that are frequently taxed by friends and relatives. Group-based savings and credit schemes had very large effects.

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Online Appendix (431.22 KB) | Download Data Set (232.00 KB)

Authors

Dupas, Pascaline (Stanford U)
Robinson, Jonathan (U CA, Santa Cruz)

JEL Classifications

C93: Field Experiments
D14: Personal Finance
D91: Intertemporal Consumer Choice; Life Cycle Models and Saving
I12: Health Production
O12: Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development


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