Effects of Education Savings Accounts on Student Engagement: Instrumental Variable Analysis
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.
KeywordsSaving Asset effect Student engagement Sub-Saharan Africa Instrumental variable
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.
- Adelabu, D. H. (2007). Time perspective and school membership as correlates to academic achievement among African American adolescents. Adolescence, 42(167), 525–538.Google Scholar
- Adjei, J. K., Arun, T., & Hossain, F. (2009). The role of microfinance in asset-building and poverty reduction: the case of Sinapi Aba Trust of Ghana. Manchester: University of Manchester.Google Scholar
- Alm, S. (2011). The worried, the competitive and the indifferent–approaches to the future in youth, their structural roots and outcomes in adult life. Futures, 43(5), 552–562.Google Scholar
- American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare. (2014). Grand challenges for social work. Retrieved from http://aaswsw.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Oct24_GC-ImpactModel-Statement-and-Model-REV.pdf. Accessed 23 March 2018.
- Ansong, D. (2013). The relationship between household economic resources and youth academic performance in Ghana: a multilevel structural equation modeling. (Electronic Theses and Dissertations) Paper 1194 (Retrieved from http://openscholarship.wustl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2194&context=etd). Accessed 23 March 2018.
- Ansong, D., Wu, S., & Chowa, G. (2015b). The role of child and parent savings in promoting expectations for university education among middle school students in Ghana: a propensity score analysis. Children and Youth Services Review, 58, 265–273. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2015.08.009.Google Scholar
- Ansong, D., Chowa, G., Masa, R., Despard, M., Sherraden, M., Wu, S., & Osei-Akoto, I. (2018b). Effects of youth savings accounts on school attendance and academic performance: evidence from a youth savings experiment. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 1–13. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10834-018-9604-5.
- Baiocchi, M., Cheng, J., & Small, D. S. (2014). Instrumental variable methods for causal inference. Statistics in Medicine, 33(13), 2297–2340.Google Scholar
- Boef, A. G., Dekkers, O. M., Vandenbroucke, J. P., & le Cessie, S. (2014). Sample size importantly limits the usefulness of instrumental variable methods, depending on instrument strength and level of confounding. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 67(11), 1258–1264.Google Scholar
- Burgess, S., & Thompson, S. G. (2012). Improving bias and coverage in instrumental variable analysis with weak instruments for continuous and binary outcomes. Statistics in Medicine, 31(15), 1582–1600.Google Scholar
- Burtless, G. (1999). An economic view of retirement. In H. J. Aaron (Ed.), Behavioral dimensions of retirement. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press.Google Scholar
- Bynner, J., & Paxton, W. (2001). The asset-effect. London: Institute for Public Policy Research.Google Scholar
- Cameron, A. C., & Trivedi, P. K. (2010). Microeconometrics using stata (Vol. 2). College Station, TX: Stata press.Google Scholar
- Chowa, G., & Ansong, D. (2010). Youth and savings in AssetsAfrica. Children and Youth Services Review, 32(11), 1591–1596.Google Scholar
- Chowa, G., Masa, R., Osei-Akoto, I., Ansong, D., Despard, M., Afranie, S., …, & Sherraden, M. (2015). Impacts of financial inclusion on youth development: findings from the Ghana YouthSave experiment (CSD Research Report 15–35). St. Louis, MO, Washington University, Center for Social Development.Google Scholar
- Clark, S., Paul, M., Aryeetey, R., & Marquis, G. (2018). An assets-based approach to promoting girls’ financial literacy, savings, and education. Journal of Adolescence, 68, 94–104.Google Scholar
- Curley, J., Ssewamala, F., & Han, C. K. (2010). Assets and educational outcomes: child development accounts (CDAs) for orphaned children in Uganda. Children and Youth Services Review, 32(11), 1585–1590.Google Scholar
- Davis, H. A., Summers, J. J., & Miller, L. M. (2012). An interpersonal approach to classroom management: strategies for improving student engagement. Thousand Oaks: Corwin Press.Google Scholar
- Demirguc-Kunt, A., Klapper, L., & Singer, D. (2017). Financial inclusion and inclusive growth: a review of recent empirical evidence. (Policy Research Working Paper 8040). Retrieved from the World Bank website: http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/403611493134249446/pdf/WPS8040.pdf. Accessed 23 March 2018.
- Dueck-Mbeba, R., Khan, S., Nan DasGupta, N., Cairns-Smith, S., Kosyura, H. (2015). Financial services for young people: prospects and challenges. The MasterCard Foundation & The Boston Consulting Group. http://www.mastercardfdn.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Youth-Financial-Services.pdf. Accessed 23 March 2018.
- Elliott, W., & Beverly, S. G. (2011). Staying on course: the effects of savings and assets on the college progress of young adults. American Journal of Education, 117(3), 343–374.Google Scholar
- Elliott, W., & Sherraden, M. S. (2013). An institutional facilitation model of CDA effects: changing the way children think about college. In W. Elliott (Ed.), Biannual report on the assets and education field. Lawrence: University of Kansas, School of Social Welfare, Assets and Education Initiative.Google Scholar
- Friedline, T., & Schuetz, N. (2014). Investing in children: Child Development Accounts as an early childhood intervention. Washington, DC: New America Foundation Retrieved from https://na-production.s3.amazonaws.com/documents/Investing_in_Children.pdf. Accessed 23 March 2018.
- Godin, I., & Kittel, F. (2004). Differential economic stability and psychosocial stress at work: associations with psychosomatic complaints and absenteeism. Social Science & Medicine, 58(8), 1543–1553.Google Scholar
- Kagotho, N., Patak-Pietrafesa, M., Ssewamala, F. M., & Kirkbride, G. (2018). Assessing the association between depression and savings for Kenyan youth using a validated child depression inventory measure. Journal of Adolescent Health, 62(1), S21–S28. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jadohealth.2017.11.002.Google Scholar
- Kerpelman, J. L., Eryigit, S., & Stephens, C. J. (2008). African American adolescents’ future education orientation: associations with self-efficacy, ethnic identity, and perceived parental support. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 37(8), 997–1008. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-007-9201-7.Google Scholar
- Lerman, R. I., & McKernan, S.-M. (2008). Benefits and consequences of holding assets. In S.-M. McKernan & M. Sherraden (Eds.), Asset building and low-income households. Washington, DC: Urban Institute Press.Google Scholar
- Mandell, L., Sherraden, M. S., Despard, M., Masa, R., Adams, D., Elliott, W., Ansong, D., Lucey, T., Hira, T., Ssewamala, F., Prabhakar, R., & Williams Shanks, T. (2012). Children and youth as economic citizens: review of research on financial capability, financial inclusion, and financial education. Child and Youth Finance International Research Working Group Report. Retrieved from https://csd.wustl.edu/Publications/Documents/RR13-02.pdf. Accessed 23 March 2018.
- Martens, E. P., Pestman, W. R., de Boer, A., Belitser, S. V., & Klungel, O. H. (2006). Instrumental variables: application and limitations. Epidemiology, 260–267.Google Scholar
- McLoyd, V. C., Kaplan, R., Purtell, K. M. & Huston, A. C. (2011). Assessing the effects of a work-based antipoverty program for parents on youth’s future orientation and employment experiences. Child Development, 82(1), 113–132.Google Scholar
- Nam, Y., Kim, Y., Clancy, M., Zager, R., & Sherraden, M. (2013). Do child development accounts promote account holding, saving, and asset accumulation for children's future? Evidence from a statewide randomized experiment. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 32(1), 6–33. https://doi.org/10.1002/pam.21652.Google Scholar
- Ogunlesi, T. A., & Ogunlesi, F. B. (2012). Family socio-demographic factors and maternal obstetric factors influencing appropriate health-care seeking behaviours for newborn jaundice in Sagamu, Nigeria. Maternal Child Health Journal, 16(3), 677–684. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10995-011-0765-1.Google Scholar
- Okumu, M., Kato, H., & Chalise, N. (2016). A system dynamics approach to process evaluation of penbased digital media-making projects. In T. Hammond, S. Valentine, & A. Adler (Eds.), Revolutionizing Education with Digital Ink (pp. 209–221). Geneva: Springer International. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-31193-7_14.Google Scholar
- Otieno, T. N., & Yeboah, A. (2004). Gender and cultural practices: the Akan of Ghana and the Gusii of Kenya. Journal of Intercultural Disciplines, 5, 108–127.Google Scholar
- Padawer, E. A., Jacobs-Lawson, J. M., Hershey, D. A., & Thomas, D. G. (2007). Demographic indicators as predictors of future time perspective. Current Psychology, 26(2), 102–108.Google Scholar
- Pekrun, R., & Linnenbrink-Garcia, L. (2012). Academic emotions and student engagement. In S. L. Christenson, A. L. Reschly, & C. Wylie (Eds.), Handbook of research on student engagement (pp. 259–282). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
- Prina, S. (2015). Banking the poor via savings accounts: evidence from a field experiment. Journal of Development Economics, 115, 16–31.Google Scholar
- Reschly, A. L., & Christenson, S. L. (2012). Jingle, jangle, and conceptual haziness: evolution and future directions of the engagement construct. In S. L. Christenson, A. L. Reschly, & C. Wylie (Eds.), Handbook of research on student engagement. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
- Scanlon, E., & Adams, D. (2009). Do assets affect well-being? Perceptions of youth in a matched savings program. Journal of Social Service Research, 35(1), 33–46.Google Scholar
- Seginer, R. (2009). Future orientation: developmental and ecological perspectives. New York: NY, Springer Science.Google Scholar
- Shadish, W. R., Cook, T. D., & Campbell, D. T. (2002). Experimental and quasi-experimental designs for generalized causal inference. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Company.Google Scholar
- Shephard, D., Vijay, S., & te Kaat, A., (2017). Effectiveness and sustainability of social & financial education for youth. Aflatoun International. Retrieved from https://aflatoun.app.box.com/v/Aflateen-synthesis-full. Accessed 23 March 2018.
- Sherraden, M. (1991). Assets and the poor: a new American welfare policy. Armonk: M. E. Sharpe.Google Scholar
- Sherraden, M. S., Sanders, C. K., & Sherraden, M. (2004). Kitchen capitalism: microenterprise in low-income households. Albany: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
- Shobe, M., & Page-Adams, D. (2001). Assets, future orientation, and well-being: exploring and extending Sherraden's framework. Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare, 28, 109–127.Google Scholar
- Skinner, E. A., Kindermann, T. A., & Furrer, C. J. (2009). A motivational perspective on engagement and disaffection: conceptualization and assessment of children’s behavioral and emotional participation in academic activities in the classroom. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 69(3), 493–525.Google Scholar
- Ssewamala, F. M., Karimli, L., Han, C. K., & Ismayilova, L. (2010). Social capital, savings, and educational performance of orphaned adolescents in Sub-Saharan Africa. Children and Youth Services Review, 32(12), 1704–1710.Google Scholar
- Ssewamala, F. M., Bermudez, L. G., & Santelli, J. (2018). The power of financial inclusion: reporting on the efficacy of economic strengthening interventions in Sub-Saharan Africa. Journal of Adolescent Health, 62(1), S3–S5.Google Scholar
- Stock, J., & Yogo, M. (2005). Testing for weak instruments in linear IV regression. In D. W. Andrews & J. H. Stock (Eds.), Identification and inference for econometric models: essays in honor of Thomas Rothenberg (pp. 80–108). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Stoddard, S. A., Zimmerman, M. A., & Bauermeister, J. A. (2011). Thinking about the future as a way to succeed in the present: a longitudinal study of future orientation and violent behaviors among African American youth. American Journal of Community Psychology, 48(3–4), 238–246.Google Scholar
- Stukel, T. A., Fisher, E. S., Wennberg, D. E., Alter, D. A., Gottlieb, D. J., & Vermeulen, M. J. (2007). Analysis of observational studies in the presence of treatment selection bias: effects of invasive cardiac management on AMI survival using propensity score and instrumental variable methods. JAMA, 297(3), 278–285.Google Scholar
- Teare, M. D., Dimairo, M., Shephard, N., Hayman, A., Whitehead, A., & Walters, S. J. (2014). Sample size requirements to estimate key design parameters from external pilot randomised controlled trials: a simulation study. Trials, 15(1), 264.Google Scholar
- Testa, M. F., DePanfilis, D., Huebner, R., Dionne, R., Deakins, B., & Baldwin, M. (2014). Bridging the gap between research and practice: the work of the steering team for the child welfare research and evaluation translational framework workgroup. Journal of Public Child Welfare, 8(4), 333–353.Google Scholar
- Walker, V. M., Davies, N. M., Windmeijer, F., Burgess, S., & Martin, R. M. (2017). Power calculator for instrumental variable analysis in pharmacoepidemiology. International Journal of Epidemiology, 46(5), 1627–1632.Google Scholar
- Wang, M. T., & Peck, S. C. (2013). Adolescent educational success and mental health vary across school engagement profiles. Developmental Psychology 49, 1266–1276. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0030028.
- Wang, J. S. H., Ssewamala, F. M., & Han, C. K. (2014). Family economic strengthening and mental health functioning of caregivers for AIDS-affected children in rural Uganda. Vulnerable Children and Youth Studies, 9(3), 258–269.Google Scholar
- Wang, J. S. H., Ssewamala, F. M., Neilands, T. B., Bermudez, L. G., Garfinkel, I., Waldfogel, J., ... & You, J. (2018a). Effects of financial incentives on saving outcomes and material well-being: evidence from a randomized controlled trial in Uganda. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 37(3), 602–29.Google Scholar
- Wang, M. T., Kiuru, N., Degol, J. L., & Salmela-Aro, K. (2018b). Friends, academic achievement, and school engagement during adolescence: a social network approach to peer influence and selection effects. Learning and Instruction, 58, 148–160. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.learninstruc.2018.06.003.Google Scholar
- Way, W. L., & Holden, K. C. (2009). Teachers’ background and capacity to teach personal finance: results of a national study. Journal of Financial Counseling and Planning, 2(20), 64–78 work-based antipoverty program for parents on youth’s future orientation and employment experiences. Child development, 82(1), 113–132.Google Scholar
- World Bank. (2014). Global financial development report 2014: financial inclusion. Washington, DC: World Bank. https://doi.org/10.1596/978-0-8213-9985-9.
- Zhan, M., & Sherraden, M. (2011). Assets and liabilities, educational expectations, and children’s college degree attainment. Children and Youth Services Review, 33(6), 846–854.Google Scholar