Diego Ubfal

development and international economics seminar

Diego Ubfal

Bocconi University
Expanding access to formal basic savings accounts: Experimental evidence from Uganda, Malawi and Chile
Co-écrit avec
Pascaline Dupas, Dean Karlan, Jon Robinson

Château Lafarge

Château Lafarge - Salle de séminaires
Château Lafarge
Route des Milles
13290 Les Milles
Vendredi 27 mai 2016| 12:00 - 13:15

Alice Fabre : alice.fabre[at]univ-amu.fr


To examine the impact of expanding access to no-frills formal savings accounts, we set up three randomized evaluations in Malawi, Uganda, and Chile. 10%, 17%, and 3% of individuals in each country, respectively, made five or more deposits in the account over the two years that followed. For those users, the average amount deposited was $647, $528, and $1858, respectively. Was usage among this subset of users large enough to generate treatment effects? Using three rounds of follow-up surveys in Malawi and Uganda, we document an average treatment effect on total savings of about 10% of baseline savings, and no statistically significant effect on any downstream outcomes. Our results suggest that policies merely focused on expanding access to no-frills accounts are unlikely to improve welfare noticeably since any impact created on average, even if present, is likely small and diffuse through many channels.

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