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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Banking on Transparency for the Poor: Experimental Evidence from India

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Do information frictions limit the benefits of financial inclusion drives for the rural poor? We evaluate an experimental intervention among poor Indian women receiving digital cash transfers. Treated women got automated voice calls detailing transactions posted to their accounts. Treatment increased knowledge of account balances and trust in local banking agents. Indicative of improved consumption-smoothing, administrative data show that treated women accessed transfers faster, with impacts dissipating once notifications were discontinued. Consistent with account information benefiting those with high transaction costs more, the intervention increased account use among women who lived more than an hour from the kiosk

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