Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics

CeDEx 2019-12: One Size Doesn't Fit All: Plurality of Social Norms and Saving Behavior in Kenya


We measure the social norms of sharing income with kin and neighbors in villages in Kenya. We find a plurality of norms: from a strict norm prohibiting wealth accumulation to a norm facilitating saving. Several individual and social network characteristics predict the norms upheld; the pro-saving norm becomes majoritarian when an individual can conceal their income from kin and neighbors. Whether income secrecy facilitates savings depends on the type of norm individuals uphold: stricter norm supporters are helped by secrecy, pro-saving norm supporters are harmed. This highlights the importance of measuring social norms when devising pro-saving policy interventions.

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Hanna Fromell, Daniele Nosenzo Trudy Owens and Fabio Tufano


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Posted on Friday 22nd November 2019

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