NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Sean Higgins

Center for Effective Global Action
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org

NBER Working Papers and Publications

March 2017Banking on Trust: How Debit Cards Enable the Poor to Save More
with Pierre Bachas, Paul Gertler, Enrique Seira: w23252
Trust is an essential element of economic transactions, but trust in financial institutions is low, especially among the poor. Debit cards provide not only easier access to savings, but also a mechanism to monitor bank account balances and thereby build trust in a financial institution. We study a natural experiment in which debit cards are rolled out to beneficiaries of a Mexican conditional cash transfer program whose benefits are already directly deposited into a savings account. Using administrative data on over 340,000 bank accounts over four years, we find that prior to receiving a debit card, beneficiaries do not save in these accounts. Beneficiaries then begin to increase their savings after 9 to 12 months with the card. During this initial stagnant period, they use the card to che...
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Themes
Data
People
About

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us