Child & Youth Well-being Global Asset Building Working Paper

Nudging Youth to Develop Savings Habits: Experimental Evidence Using SMS Messages

This working paper reports on a field experiment articulating financial information via cellphone text messages and financial decisions among low-income youth in Colombia. For twelve months, youth accountholders are randomly assigned to receive either: (a) monthly financial education messages, (b) monthly savings reminders, (c) semimonthly reminders, or (d) control. After 12 months, account balances in monthly and semimonthly reminders groups increase by 28% and 43%, respectively, relative to controls. Financial education messages do not increase balances. Over two thirds of balance increases in reminder groups are net savings. Savings effects of reminders last eight months after youth stop receiving messages.

Subsequent publication: Rodríguez, C., & Saavedra, J. E. (2019). The persistent effects of youth savings reminders: Experimental evidence from text-message campaigns in Colombia. Journal of Development Economics, 139, 135–159.

Project: YouthSave


Rodríguez, C., & Saavedra, J. E. (2016). Nudging youth to develop savings habits: Experimental evidence using SMS messages (CSD Working Paper No. 16-19). St. Louis, MO: Washington University, Center for Social Development.