Graduation Year

Spring 2014

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Jeffrey A. Flory

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Rights Information

© 2014 Karan Saggi


This thesis examines household characteristics as determinants of formal savings accounts in rural Malawi. The main questions answered in this paper include the effects of household characteristics on the probability of having formal savings, the amounts saved in these accounts, and the probability of adopting formal savings. The central discussion aims to identify the initial adopters of formal savings accounts, using a marketing approach previously unapplied to this area of research. This paper also contributes to the dialogue of the household composition by considering three untried variables: number of adults, number of children, and literacy of all household members. Results show that households are most likely to adopt formal savings, when provided access, if they have a head who can read Chichewa, a functional cellphone, more adults who can read Chichewa, and are close to the bank service. The field evidence comes from research conducted over a two year period 2008-2010 in sampled regions of Central Malawi.