Original abstracts from the papers in the database are provided below. All abstracts are drawn directly from the papers referenced. Links to access the papers are provided, although
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Household Decision Making and Savings Impacts: Further Evidence from a Commitment Savings Product in the PhilippinesAshraf, Karlan and Yin (2006)
Commitment devices for savings could benefit those with self-control as well as familial or spousal control issues. We find evidence to support both motivations. We examine the impact of a commitment savings product in the Philippines on household decision making power and self- perception of savings behavior, as well as actual savings. The product leads to more decision making power in the household for women, and likewise more purchases of female-oriented durable goods. We also find that the product leads women who appear time-inconsistent in a baseline survey to self-report being a disciplined saver in the follow-up survey. For impact on savings balances, we find that the 81% increase in savings after one year did not crowd out savings held outside of the participating bank, but that the longer-term impact over two and a half years on bank savings dissipated to only a 33% increase, which is no longer statistically significant. We discuss reasons why the effect dissipated and the implications for designing and implementing sustainable, equilibrium-shifting interventions.
Intervention settings: Rural: greater Butuan City.
Intervention description: Treatment group received a lock box for their savings that they were not allowed to open until they had met their savings goals.
Sample: 1,777 Green Bank clients (1,635 in follow-up) with savings accounts in two branches with identifiable addresses. 60% female and 77% married.
Findings: Household savings increased by 81% after one year (without crowding out other savings). Decision-making power also increased significantly in the treatment group (especially among married women with below-median decision-making power pre-intervention). After 32 months, administrative data indicate that the effect on household savings was no longer significant.
de Mel et al (2008)
We use randomized grants to generate shocks to capital stock for a set of Sri Lankan microenterprises. We find the average real return to capital in these enterprises is 4.6-5.3 percent per month (55-63 percent per year), substantially higher than market interest rates. We then examine the heterogeneity of treatment effects. Returns are found to vary with entrepreneurial ability and with household wealth, but not to vary with measures of risk aversion or uncertainty. Treatment impacts are also significantly larger for enterprises owned by males; indeed, we find no positive return in enterprises owned by females.
Intervention settings: Urban.
Intervention description: Capital grants in cash or in kind ($100 or $200).
Sample: 385 microenterprises, 49% female-owned.
Findings: No significant impact on earnings.
Karlan, McConnell, Mullainathan and Zinman (2011)
We develop and test a simple model of limited attention in intertemporal choice. The model posits that individuals fully attend to consumption in all periods but fail to attend to some future lumpy expenditure opportunities. This asymmetry generates some predictions that overlap with models of present-bias. Our model also generates the unique predictions that reminders may increase saving, and that reminders will be more effective when they increase the salience of a specific expenditure. We find support for these predictions in three field experiments that randomly assign reminders to new savings account holders.
Intervention settings: Peri-urban: Western Mindanao (Philippines); Unspecified locations: Bolivia and Peru.
Intervention description: Sending monthly reminders by text message or by letter to remind individuals who had opened savings accounts and established savings goals.
Sample: Customers of savings banks.
Findings: Overall, savings were 6% higher in banks sending monthly reminders.
Ashraf, Karlan, and Yin (2007)
Female "empowerment" has increasingly become a policy goal, both as an end to itself and as a means to achieving other development goals. Microfinance in particular has often been argued, but not without controversy, to be a tool for empowering women. Here, using a randomized controlled trial, we examine whether access to and marketing of an individually-held commitment savings product leads to an increase in female decision-making power within the household. We find positive impacts, particularly for women who have below median decision-making power in the baseline, and we find this leads to a shift towards female-oriented durables goods purchased in the household.
Intervention settings: Unknown.
Intervention description: Individual commitment savings product provided by a rural bank. Account matures only when a pre-specified goal is reached. Savings training.
Sample: 3,125 bank clients and non-clients (60% women and most married).
Findings: Consumption of durables associated with women increased only among married women who started below the median level of decision-making power.
de Mel et al (2009)
We report on a field experiment providing random grants to microenterprise owners. The grants generated large profit increases for male owners, but not for female owners. We show that the gender gap does not simply mask differences in ability, risk aversion, entrepreneurial attitudes, or differences in reporting behavior, but there is some evidence that the gender gap is larger in female-dominated industries. The data are not consistent with a unitary household model, and indeed, imply an inefficiency of resource allocation within households. We show evidence that this inefficiency is reduced in more cooperative households.
Intervention settings: Peri-urban.
Intervention description: Grants of $100 and $200 in cash or in-kind.
Sample: 405 low-capital microentrepreneurs (50% women).
Findings: Positive returns to capital for men's businesses; mixed impact on women's businesses. Women invest very little of smaller grants in business, but as much, if not more than men of the larger grant. Women do not experience permanent increases in business income from grants, while men do.