Parents transfer many forms of advantage to children based on their financial resources. Of interest is whether parents transfer educational and financial advantages and whether this occurs early in life. This paper examines financial advantage by asking whether children's own savings—apart from that of their parents—can be predicted by a separate measure of parents' savings for their child. This study predicts children's basic and college savings at ages 12 to 15 with separate samples from low-to-moderate- (LMI; N = 333) and high-income (HI; N = 411) households using Panel Study of Income Dynamics and Child Development Supplement data. Propensity score weighting and logistic regression results find that parents' savings for their child is significant in both household types. Given this, policies that aim to include children in savings may help reduce transfers of financial advantage and, ultimately, educational advantage.
Friedline, T. (2012). Predicting children's savings: The role of parents' savings for transferring financial advantage and opportunities for financial inclusion. Children and Youth Services Review, 34(1), 144–154.
In this study we examine predictors of adolescents' savings account ownership and use of mental accounting with a nationally representative, longitudinal sample of 744 adolescents ages 12 to 15 using Panel Study of Income Dynamics and Child Development Supplement data. We find sizable savings gaps along class lines. Further, findings suggest adolescents are more likely to have savings and use mental accounting when their parents have higher levels of education and have savings for them. Given that parents' education level and parents' savings for their child are directly related to adolescents' own savings, we suggest that traditional banking markets may not be able to equalize the advantage provided by having savings as an adolescent.
Friedline, T.*, Elliott, W., and Nam, I. (2012). Predicting savings and mental accounting among adolescents: The case of college. Children & Youth Services Review, 34(9), 1884-1895.
Friedline, T. (2012). The case for extending financial inclusion to children: The role of parents’ financial resources and implications for policy innovations. Washington, DC: New America Foundation.
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.
This paper explores predictors of young adults’ savings using propensity score analysis and logistic regression with separate, longitudinal samples of whites and blacks aged 17–23 from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics. We ask who saves among adolescents and young adults and whether the likelihood of having a savings account and the amount saved in young adulthood can be predicted by two factors: (1) having a savings account during adolescence and (2) having families who own assets. The majority of white (90%) and black (64%) young adults had savings; however, blacks saved about 3% the amount saved by whites, suggesting that young adults’ savings may be patterned after disparities in the distribution of assets and families may transfer a financial advantage to young adults. Logistic regression results find that among whites, future orientation was a significant predictor of having a savings account in young adulthood. A notable trend level finding was that white young adults were more likely to have a savings account when they had a savings account as adolescents. Among blacks, academic achievement and household size were significant predictors of having a savings account in young adulthood. If confirmed in future research, findings suggest that Children’s Development Accounts may be one way to reduce racial disparities in savings by intervening at a young age and providing universal accounts to improve savings across the life course.
Friedline, T.* and Elliott, W. (2011). Predicting savings for white and black young adults: An early look at racial disparities in savings and the potential role of children's development accounts (CDAs). Journal of Race and Social Problems, 3(2), 99-118.
This paper examines the progression of savings between adolescence and young adulthood. Using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, we ask whether adolescents with a savings account and parents who have assets significantly predict having a savings account and the amount saved in young adulthood. Descriptive statistics reveal that adolescents have savings accounts more often when they are White, employed, and live in households where the head is married, has more education, and owns assets. Propensity score analyses provide evidence confirming that adolescents with savings accounts are more likely to have savings accounts as young adults. There is some evidence to suggest that adolescents whose parents have savings on their behalf and higher net worth are more likely to have more saved as young adults. Findings suggest that parents may play an important role in modeling saving habits to adolescents. Furthermore, if our findings regarding adolescents’ savings accounts are confirmed in future research, this study suggests that having a savings account in adolescence may lead to an increased likelihood of having a savings account in young adulthood.
Friedline, T.* Elliott, W., and Nam, I.* (2011). Predicting savings in young adulthood: The role of adolescent savings. Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research, 2(1), 1-22.
Recent findings using traditional regression methods show that children's savings designated for school are associated with higher math scores. We build on this research by using Hierarchical Linear Modeling (HLM) to confirm that children with school savings have higher math scores than those without school savings. Moreover, we suggest children's school savings may have a stronger association with children's math scores than with either household wealth or children's savings not designated for school. Further, we find evidence that children's school savings mediates the relationship between household wealth and math scores. Policy implications for children living in low-wealth households are discussed.
Elliott, W., Jung, H.,* and Friedline, T.* (2011). Raising math scores among children in low-wealth households: Potential Benefit of Children’s School Savings. Journal of Income Distribution, 20(2), 72-91.
This paper has two main goals. First, we provide a review of 34 studies on the relationship between assets and children's educational attainment. Second, we discuss implications for Child Development Accounts (CDAs) policies. CDAs have been proposed as a potentially novel and promising asset approach for helping to finance college. More specifically, we propose that CDAs should be designed so that, in addition to promoting savings, they include aspects that help make children's college-bound identity salient, congruent with children's group identity, and that help children develop strategies for overcoming difficulties.
Elliott, W., Destin, M, and Friedline, T*. (2011). Taking stock of ten years of research on the relationship between assets and children’s educational outcomes: Implications for theory, policy and intervention. Children and Youth Services Review, 33(11), 2312—2328.
In this study, we propose that children who have a savings account may be more likely to have higher math scores than children without a savings account. We find that children’s savings accounts are positively associated with math scores. Children with savings accounts on average score almost nine percent higher in math than children without a savings account. Further, results suggest that children’s savings accounts fully mediate the relationship between household wealth and children’s math scores. However, household wealth moderates the mediating relationship. We find math scores of low-wealth children increase by 2.13, middle-wealth children’s increase by 4.36, while high-wealth children’s increase by 6.59 points. Policy implications are discussed.
Elliott, W., Jung, H.*, and Friedline, T.* (2010). Math achievement and children’s savings: Implications for child development accounts. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 31(2), 171-184.