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Do saving promotion interventions increase household savings, consumption, and investments in Sub-Saharan Africa? A systematic review and meta-analysis

Janina I. Steinert, Juliane Zenker, Ute Filipiak, Ani Movsisyan, Lucie D. Cluver and Yulia Shenderovich

World Development, 2018, vol. 104, issue C, 238-256

Abstract: Saving promotion interventions have gained momentum in international development in recent years. Our analysis investigates whether saving promotion can effectively increase savings, consumption, and future-oriented investments in Sub-Saharan Africa. In an extensive search of 28 academic and policy-focused databases in the fields of economics, psychology, and social sciences, 9330 titles and abstracts of published and unpublished studies were screened and 27 randomized controlled trials on saving promotion interventions fulfilled the inclusion criteria. Of these, 24 studies reporting on an aggregated sample of 87,025 individuals provided sufficient information to be included in the meta-analysis. Robust-variance estimations of pooled effect sizes show small but significant impacts on poverty reduction, including increases in household expenditures and incomes, higher returns from family businesses, and improved food security. They also show positive and significant impacts on more intermediate outcomes including total savings, pro-saving attitudes, financial literacy, and investments in small-scale family businesses. Our results do not show significant effects on assets, housing quality, education, or health. Results from meta-regressions suggest that supply-based programs are superior to demand-enhancing program types such as financial education. They further reveal reduced program effectiveness for women. Overall, findings from this analysis suggest that saving promotion schemes are highly relevant in reducing poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa, and that future efforts should focus on expansion of banking services to the poor as well as gender-sensitive programming.

Keywords: Savings; Financial inclusion; Financial literacy; Systematic review; Meta-analysis; Sub-Saharan Africa (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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