NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Savings Constraints and Microenterprise Development: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Kenya

Pascaline Dupas, Jonathan Robinson

NBER Working Paper No. 14693
Issued in January 2009
NBER Program(s):   CH

Does limited access to formal savings services impede business growth in poor countries? To shed light on this question, we randomized access to non-interest-bearing bank accounts among two types of self-employed individuals in rural Kenya: market vendors (who are mostly women) and men working as bicycle-taxi drivers. Despite large withdrawal fees, a substantial share of market women used the accounts, were able to save more, and increased their productive investment and private expenditures. We see no impact for bicycle-taxi drivers. These results imply significant barriers to savings and investment for market women in our study context. Further work is needed to understand what those barriers are, and to test whether the results generalize to other types of businesses or individuals.

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This paper was revised on March 15, 2012

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w14693

Published: 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 163-92, January. citation courtesy of

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