Case Study

A Tangible Way to Save


People frequently save less for the future than they should. Which behavioral interventions and financial incentives do the most to increase the saving rate of individuals with low and irregular income?


In collaboration with the World Bank and M-PESA (a mobile phone-based money transfer, financing and microfinancing service), we conducted a field study aimed at encouraging low-income Kenyans to save more. Building on research showing that people are motivated when they have a tangible representation of their savings, study participants were given one of 12 different interventions intended to serve as a reminder.


Of the 12 possibilities, participants given a fake gold coin with a number for each week of the study (as a physical reminder of savings) was the most effective intervention. The coin served as a constant reminder to save in the everyday environment. The other 11 intervention reminders were not as tangible and visible as the coin.

Why it matters

If you want to drive action, make things visible.

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