Research project to examine the savings behaviour of rural self-employed. This involved a Listing exercise of 3650 households to identify rural unbanked self-employed sample (including sub-sample of those participating in informal savings (rosca)) in Bandarawela and Mahiyangana areas in July 2010.

A Baseline Survey of 800 rural unbanked self-employed sample in August 2010 (which also included drawing in other rosca members into the sample). A savings mobilization programme using point-of-service device in partnership with a national-level savings bank to 400 randomly selected participants for which monthly and quarterly follow-up surveys were conducted until January 2012 and on a six-monthly basis.


Research Publications

“Deposit Collecting: Unbundling the Role of Frequency, Salience, and Habit Formation in Generating Savings”

Deposit collectors are common in many countries. Poor households have shown their willingness to pay for such services indicating the value of illiquid savings to those whose financial lives are transacted largely in cash. 

We report on a field experiment using several methods for collecting deposits made in formal bank accounts in rural areas in Sri Lanka. We find that only frequent, face-to-face collection increases aggregate household savings. Collection involving community lock boxes increases balances at the collecting bank, but not overall household savings. Only community box collection appears to have the possibility of being financially viable. The various collection methods allow us to unbundle the role of frequency, salience and habit formation in deposit decisions. We find that frequency and salience affect the number of transactions, but not the level of savings.

Published in American Economic Review: Papers & Proceedings, Vol. 103, No. 3, May 2013, pp. 387-392. (downloadable from