Economics Research Seminar
Get Your Goat: Planning, Saving, and Ceremonial Spending
Sponsored by: Economics Department, CWRU
Speaker(s): Jenny C. Aker, Ph.D.
Date & Time: Friday, April 14 from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m.
The welfare impacts of expanding access to new financial services depend upon whether such services better meet households’ financial needs in terms of savings, investment and insurance. We report the results of a randomized control trial in Niger, whereby households were provided with access to a simple savings device – an individual lockbox – or SMS reminders, the latter of which were designed to remind households about spending on religious festivals, which represent a large percentage of household income. Take-up and usage of the lockbox was high, yet compliance of the SMS messages was relatively low. Overall, these interventions did not appear to have a strong impact on households’ spending behavior. Nevertheless, households were better able to cope with health shocks, had higher reported food security and were better able to meet their savings goals. This is primarily due to shifts in the ways in which households used their financial tools: Households saved more in the lockbox and were less reliant on members of their external social network. These results suggest that access to quality savings devices can lead to household improvements via multiple mechanisms.
Please join the Economics Department for a research seminar. This event is open to all Case Western Reserve University faculty, Ph.D. students, economic majors and minors, and those interested in economics research.
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