DP10689 The Effect of Savings Accounts on Interpersonal Financial Relationships: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Rural Kenya

Author(s): Pascaline Dupas, Anthony Keats, Jonathan Robinson
Publication Date: July 2015
Keyword(s): financial access, social insurance, spillovers
JEL(s): C93, D14, G21, O16
Programme Areas: Development Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=10689

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.