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This technical note examines demand-side constraints households in Latin America and the Caribbean face when making saving decisions, particularly households from lower income deciles. This emphasis is important because poverty can impact individuals’ ability to process information, manage their time efficiently, or resist temptation, thus limiting their ability to make sound financial choices, forecast, or plan ahead. The note first reviews the main formal constraints on saving such as transaction costs, regulatory barriers and limited trust in financial systems. The note then considers constraints on saving in general, whether formal or informal, including social pressure, intra-household allocation issues, information and knowledge gaps, and behavioral biases when making financial choices. Reviewing advances in behavioral economics, particular emphasis is placed on how features of individual behavior can impact savings. Alleviating behavioral constraints could yield large welfare gains at relatively low costs.
This paper compares the saving behavior of formal and informal workers and additionally provides a socioeconomic and financial characterization of informal workers in Chile. The paper uses the Financial Household Survey conducted by the Central Bank of Chile in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010, which covers between 1,740 and 2,533 urban households, performing both OLS and probit regressions. The cro ... (View publication)
This paper explores the potential of financial education programs for kids. We conducted a randomized controlled trial to evaluate the impact of a large-scale pilot program carried out in 150 public high schools, in six regions in Peru. Although the treatment was only moderately intensive, the pilot program was extremely effective: students’ financial literacy improved by 0.14 standard deviation ... (View publication)
Using data from a randomized controlled trial in 300 public high schools in Peru, this paper studies the potential of school-based financial education programs for youth. The intervention improves students’ and teachers’ financial knowledge by 0.14 SD and 0.32 SD, respectively. The impact of the intervention also extends to socioemotional traits and behavior, as sizable positive impacts on sel ... (View publication)
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