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Abstract

This study uses a large randomized field experiment on formal savings adoption in Malawi to identify the effects of high-liquidity savings accounts on agricultural investment decisions and household welfare outcomes among poor farming households. The results show that formal savings adoption can have a sharp positive effect on use of farming inputs such as fertilizer, seedlings, and hired labor. The findings also suggest these changes in crop production decisions are linked to significant improvements in food consumption and increased assets. Despite a surge of interest in savings-driven financial services for the poor among researchers and policy-makers, there are many open questions regarding the effects of high-liquidity savings accounts on farm investments, production decisions, and welfare outcomes among farming households in the developing world. This paper helps fill that gap

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