Paper

Savings Performance among Rural Households in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Effects of Gender

Understanding the determinants of households savings
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This article investigates savings performance among participants in a matched savings program in Uganda, modelled after the Individual Development Accounts in the United States.

The central premise of this article is that gender has a significant effect on savings performance. Findings show that women and men save successfully. Women, however, save better than their male counterparts across levels of education, marital status and type of work. Possible explanations for this include:

  • Differences in the reasons for saving among men and women;
  • Differences in the degree of their economic vulnerability;
  • Divergence in their economic interests due to gender roles and norms;
  • Women may be motivated to accumulate assets for the household as security because they are the primary managers of the household;
  • Asset accumulation might also be attractive to women because it provides them with assets that they can control.

The paper suggests that the findings could be used to develop policies that would encourage asset-building vehicles that target women and empower them to own assets, improving the well-being of the whole household.