Department of Economics and Business Economics

Hanna Fromell

One size does not fit all: Plurality of social norms and saving behavior in Kenya

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Using the Krupka–Weber norm-elicitation technique in a lab-in-the-field experiment in rural Kenya, we measure the social norms that regulate the trade-off between wealth accumulation through saving and sharing income with kin and neighbors. We find a plurality of norms: from a strict sharing norm prohibiting any form of wealth accumulation to a norm that allows moderate wealth accumulation. We show that several individual and social network characteristics predict the norms perceived and that the pro-saving norm becomes majoritarian when an individual can conceal their income from kin and neighbors. In further exploratory analysis, we find some evidence that the type of norm individuals perceive mediates the effect of income secrecy on actual saving behavior. Taken together, our results highlight the importance of measuring social norms when devising pro-saving policy interventions.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Economic Behavior and Organization
Pages (from-to)73-91
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors

    Research areas

  • Forced solidarity, Krupka–Weber method, Lab-in-the-field experiment, Savings, Sharing norms, Social norms, Social pressure

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