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Failing in the FieldWhat We Can Learn When Field Research Goes Wrong$
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Dean Karlan and Jacob Appel

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780691183138

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691183138.001.0001

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Youth Savings

Youth Savings

Real Money Drumming up Fake People

(p.94) Chapter 8 Youth Savings
Failing in the Field

Dean Karlan

Jacob Appel

Princeton University Press

This chapter focuses on a study which assesses two sets of policy levers that can be pushed to increase savings: improving the accounts people can access and encouraging people to save more. The researchers worked with local partner organizations on two interventions: a simple group-based savings account and a youth-focused financial literacy curriculum made up of ten 90-minute sessions, to be held weekly for ten weeks. They partnered with the Church of Uganda, whose network of youth clubs counted thousands of members across the country. Keeping track of individuals proved far more difficult than calling names, as club members attempted to cover up each other's absences. This case qualifies as a failure of technical design. Given a setting where official documents are scarce, identifying and tracking individuals over time is always a challenge. The other candidate for a failure of technical design is the set of underlying incentives that led club members to behave badly.

Keywords:   savings, group-based savings, youth savings, financial literacy, youth clubs, technical design flaw, technical design

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