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Lotto-Linked Savings Accounts

Financial Inclusion Haiti
Focus group discussions in Haiti. Credit: Oscar Barriga Cabanillas

About 80% of the Haitian population lacks access to formal financial services. Meanwhile, Haitians spend as much as $1.5 billion per year at over 35,000 independently owned lottery stalls. This experiment explores whether lotto-linked Savings (LLS) products, which offer a lottery ticket or credit in lieu of an interest payment, may catalyze greater financial inclusion by providing the working poor with a compelling and familiar incentive to use formal savings. Researchers collaborated with Digicel Haiti to create a prototype LLS product for their Mon Cash mobile money platform and test whether offering lotto credit instead of interest payments increases savings among the unbanked working poor. Researchers asked 306 participants in Port-au-Prince to make a series of portfolio allocation decisions that include lottery and LLS options. To leverage familiarity with the lotto, the lottery options in the experiment consisted of the most basic and familiar lotto product in Haiti.

Researchers found that the introduction of an LLS product increased total savings by over 20%, Additionally, researchers found no difference in total savings between two LLS products that differed in expected return, suggesting that individuals respond to the presence of a lotto component rather than the extent of this component. Results were published by Travis Lybbert and Felipe Dizon here.



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