Effects of Education Savings Accounts on Student Engagement: Instrumental Variable Analysis

  • David Ansong
  • Moses OkumuEmail author
  • Youn Kyoung Kim
  • Mathieu Despard
  • Raymond Darfo-Oduro
  • Eusebius Small


As interest in youth financial inclusion continues to grow substantially, emerging research points to positive associations between students’savings and their educational outcomes. However, there is no definitive data on how assets alter student engagement, particularly in resource-limited settings. This study contributes knowledge by assessing the causal effects of education savings accounts on student engagement. We evaluate causal effects by using instrumental variable methods and data from a pilot study that assessed the viability of different education funding mechanisms for junior high-school students in Ghana. Results show that the offering of an education savings account to young people with an opt-out option has great promise for improving education account ownership. Results also show that simply having an account is not strongly predictive of school engagement. Instead, it is when people begin to save into the account that it positively shapes their school engagement. The finding speaks to the value of policies that support young people to cultivate a savings habit and to build their financial knowledge and skills. Efforts should be made to understand better how social workers and teachers could be adequately trained to provide financial counseling and financial education assistance to students within the community or school settings.


Saving Asset effect Student engagement Sub-Saharan Africa Instrumental variable 


Funding Information

The data for this paper were drawn from a project supported by a research grant from the Armfield-Reeves Innovation Fund at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Ethical Approval and Consent to Participate

The study protocols were reviewed and approved by the Institutional Review Board of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill as it relates to the protection of human subjects and vulnerable populations.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Social WorkUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  2. 2.Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social WorkUniversity of TorontoTorontoUSA
  3. 3.School of Social WorkLouisiana State UniversityBaton RougeUSA
  4. 4.Brown School of Social WorkWashington University in St. LouisSt. LouisUSA
  5. 5.Capital ResearchUniversity of London (SOAS)AccraGhana
  6. 6.School of Social WorkThe University of Texas at ArlingtonArlingtonUSA

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