Kyoto University Asian Economic Development Seminar (AEDS)

Speaker: Kazushi Takahashi (GRIPS)

Title: Saving for the lean season and seasonal poverty dynamics: Evidence from a randomized experiment and high-frequency data (with Abu S. Shonchoy, Takeshi Aida, Jun Goto, Yu Ri Kim, Hisaki Kono, and Takashi Kurosaki)

Abstract: Using 36 rounds of bi-weekly household surveys over two years and a randomized field experiment, this study explores whether term deposits with the maturity date set in the lean season mitigate seasonal poverty in rural Bangladesh. To differently incentivize, we randomly assign either a premium or prevailing market interest at maturity. The former product attracts more deposits, and treated households increase food and non-food expenditure by 8-13% during the target lean season, with no lasting impacts. The latter product shows no impacts. Our results suggest that, while imperfect, a better-designed savings product could potentially mitigate seasonal deprivation.

Keywords: consumption seasonality, micro-savings, randomized experiment, Bangladesh

Chair and Contact: Tomohiro Machikita