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

Publication Date

05/07/2015

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Abstract

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.