Friedline, T., Despard, M., & Chowa, G. (2015). Preventive policy strategy for banking the unbanked: Savings accounts for teenagers? Journal of Poverty.
A major hypothesis of asset-building is that early access to savings accounts leads to continued and improved educational and economic outcomes over time. This study asks whether or not young adults (ages 18-22) in 2007, particularly among lower income households, are significantly more likely to own savings accounts and to accumulate more savings when they have access to savings accounts at banking institutions as adolescents (ages 13-17) in 2002. We investigate this question using longitudinal data (low-to-moderate income sample [LMI; N = 530]; low-income sample [LI; N = 354]) from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics and its supplements. Results from propensity score weighting and bivariate probit estimates support this hypothesis. Asset-building policies that extend early access to savings accounts may improve savings outcomes for young people from lower income households, which hopefully affords them with the economic resources needed to lead productive and satisfying lives.
Friedline, T., Elliott, W., and Chowa, G. (2013). Testing an asset-building approach for young people: Early access to savings predicts later savings. Economics of Education Review, 33(1), pp. 31-51.
It has been suggested that children’s savings programs will be more effective if they are combined with strategies to build children’s college-bound identities. In this study we use a multi-level treatment approach to propensity score analysis to test this proposition. Findings suggest that children who have savings and are certain they will graduate from a four-year college are more likely to attend college than their counterparts. Given this, we suggest that children’s savings policies designed to increase college attendance rates will be more effective if they include strategies for building children’s college-bound identity and college-bound identity programs will be more effective if they are linked to children’s savings programs.
Elliott, W., Chowa, G. and Loke, V. (2011). Toward a children’s savings and college-bound identity intervention for raising college attendance rates: A multilevel propensity score analysis. Sociology Mind, 1(4). 192 –205.
Wealth is increasingly included alongside income for predicting youth’s educational outcomes. However, the natural log and categorical transformations may not always be appropriate for adjusting for skewness given wealth’s unique properties. We introduce an alternative transformation—the inverse hyperbolic sine (IHS)—for simultaneously dealing with skewness and accounting for wealth’s unique properties. We also explore non-linearity and accumulation thresholds by combining IHS transformed wealth with splines. We predict youth's math achievement with two data sources: (1) U.S. households from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics and (2) Ghanaian households from the YouthSave Ghana Experiment. IHS transformed wealth relates to youth’s math achievement similarly when compared to categorical and natural log transformations. In both U.S. and Ghanaian households, we find evidence of non-linearity between wealth and youth’s math achievement. We also find evidence for wealth accumulation thresholds that relate to youth’s math achievement. In an aggregate sample of U.S. households, accumulating zero and negative net worth is significantly related to decreases in youth’s math achievement whereas accumulating moderate values of positive net worth is significantly related to increases in youth’s math achievement. Among black and low-to-moderate income U.S. households, holding net worth sufficient to remain above the poverty line for three months is significantly related to youth’s improved math achievement. In Ghanaian households, accumulating assets between the 25th and 50th percentiles is related to a significant increase in youth’s math achievement.