Photo by flickr-user Asian Development Bank, CC-license

Access to formal banking is spreading across the world. Obtaining a bank account may transform how people manage their finances, and affect their savings and consumption. We report from a field experiment that randomly provides access to a bank account to a representative sample of villagers in rural India. The treated keep relatively important savings on their account, but reduce their other savings by a similar amount. Their household’s overall savings and expenditures do not change. We identify several barriers that may constraint total savings.

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