Banking the Unbanked? Evidence from Three Countries

54 Pages Posted: 29 Jul 2016

See all articles by Dean S. Karlan

Dean S. Karlan

Yale University; Innovations for Poverty Action; Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Pascaline Dupas

Stanford University

Jonathan Robinson

University of California, Santa Cruz

Diego Ubfal

Bocconi University

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: July 13, 2016

Abstract

We experimentally test the impact of expanding access to basic bank accounts in Uganda, Malawi, and Chile. Over two years, 17%, 10%, and 3% of treatment individuals made five or more deposits, respectively. Average monthly deposits for them were at the 79th, 91st, and 96th percentiles of baseline savings. Survey data show no clearly discernible intention-to-treat effects on savings or any downstream outcomes. This suggests that policies merely focused on expanding access to basic accounts are unlikely to improve welfare noticeably since impacts, even if present, are likely small and diverse.

Keywords: financial access, savings, banking, micro-finance, field experiment, multicountry, Uganda, Malawi, Chile

JEL Classification: C93, D14, G21, O12, O16

Suggested Citation

Karlan, Dean S. and Dupas, Pascaline and Robinson, Jonathan and Ubfal, Diego, Banking the Unbanked? Evidence from Three Countries (July 13, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2815092 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2815092

Dean S. Karlan (Contact Author)

Yale University ( email )

Box 208269
New Haven, CT 06520-8269
United States

Innovations for Poverty Action ( email )

1731 Connecticut Ave, 4th floor
New Haven, CT 20009
United States

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) ( email )

E60-246
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

Pascaline Dupas

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Jonathan Robinson

University of California, Santa Cruz ( email )

1156 High St
Santa Cruz, CA 95064
United States

Diego Ubfal

Bocconi University ( email )

Via Sarfatti, 25
Milan, MI 20136
Italy

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
83
Abstract Views
755
rank
269,425
PlumX Metrics