The Effect of Savings Accounts on Interpersonal Financial Relationships: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Rural Kenya
The welfare impact of expanding access to bank accounts depends on whether accounts crowd out pre-existing financial relationships, or whether private gains from accounts are shared within social networks. To study the effect of accounts on financial linkages, we provided free bank accounts to a random subset of 885 households. Within households, we randomized which spouse was offered an account and find no evidence of negative spillovers to spouses. Across households, we document positive spillovers: treatment households become less reliant on grown children and siblings living outside their village, and become more supportive of neighbors and friends within their village.
We thank Sarah Green for outstanding research management, Helen Czapary, Sefira Fialkoff, Kathy Nolan, and Kim Siegal for their dedicated field research assistance, and Sindy Li and Odyssia Ng for their research assistance. We are very grateful to Simone Schaner for detailed comments. We thank seminar participants at the ASSAs, UCSC, and IPA for helpful comments. This study was implemented through IPA Kenya and funded through grants from the International Growth Center, the NBER Africa project, and the International Initiative for Impact Evaluations (3ie). The protocol for this study was approved by the IRBs of UC Santa Cruz, UCLA, Stanford and IPA Kenya. We have no financial interest in the issues studied in this paper. This RCT was registered in the American Economic Association Registry for randomized control trials under Trial number AEARCTR-0000740. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Pascaline Dupas & Anthony Keats & Jonathan Robinson, 2019. "The Effect of Savings Accounts on Interpersonal Financial Relationships: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Rural Kenya," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 129(617), pages 273-310. citation courtesy of