Evaluating the Efficacy of School-based Financial Education Programs
Last registered on January 08, 2014

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Evaluating the Efficacy of School-based Financial Education Programs
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0000107
Initial registration date
January 08, 2014
Last updated
January 08, 2014 1:47 PM EST
Location(s)
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Northwestern University
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
VU University Amsterdam, University of Amsterdam
PI Affiliation
Cornell University, IPA, J-PAL
Additional Trial Information
Status
Completed
Start date
2010-09-01
End date
2014-03-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
Financial education, especially when provided in the early stages of life, has the potential to create long-lasting impacts. Intuitively, financial education provides useful tools to people of all ages, yet empirical evidence for this impact is thin and often mixed. This project tests two financial education curricula for primary school students. Specifically, it measures the impact of financial education on student behavior attitudes, and outcomes.

The evaluation was conducted over the course of one school year, from September 2010 to August 2011, in partnership with Aflatoun, a Dutch NGO providing social and financial education to children in 33 countries.

The study included 5,000 primary school students aged 9 - 14 in 135 public schools in semi-urban and rural Ghana, including 30 schools in Greater Accra, 60 in Volta, and 45 in Western District. One-third of the schools in each region were randomly assigned to each of three different groups: the Aflatoun program, Honest Money Box (HMB) intervention, or a comparison group without treatment. The Aflatoun curriculum includes lessons about planning, budgeting, saving, proper spending, as well as self-esteem building exercises. The HMB intervention, in contrast, is solely focused on financial education and is designed to provide a comparison for Aflatoun’s social curriculum.

Surveys collected data on financial well-being of students and their families, cognitive function, psycho-social measures, and perspectives on savings and time and risk preference.
Registration Citation
Citation
Berry, Jim, Dean Karlan and Menno Pradhan. 2014. "Evaluating the Efficacy of School-based Financial Education Programs." AEA RCT Registry. January 08. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/107/history/872
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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
The Aflatoun curriculum includes lessons about planning, budgeting, saving, proper spending, as well as self-esteem building exercises. It uses songs, games, and worksheets, which put children at the center of the learning process. Aflatoun also adapts its messages and activities to the context of the countries in which it operates, focusing on cultural heritage and community in order to foster a collective sense of empowerment among participant children. The HMB intervention, in contrast, is solely focused on financial education and is designed to provide a comparison for Aflatoun’s unique social and attitudinal curriculum. IPA developed the HMB intervention as a group savings scheme with a financial literacy curriculum. Some of the topics covered in the curriculum include: What is Money?, Saving and Spending, Planning and Budgeting, and Entrepreneurship, as well as lessons in how to use the Money Box, a lockbox that stores group savings.

To implement the two programs, local partner organizations trained approximately 200 teachers (two teachers in each selected school). Teachers instructed two multi-grade clubs, with an average of 54 students per club, and delivered the assigned curriculum, in addition to providing a secure storage space for the money saved, generally in the teacher’s locked office. Clubs met, on average, once a week after school at a time decided by the members. Students saved money from their pocket change and recorded transactions on individual passbooks. IPA and partner organizations monitored the teachers to ensure that implementation met pre-determined standards.
Intervention Start Date
2010-10-01
Intervention End Date
2011-07-01
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
saving behavior, attitude, environment, and risk perception; work; expenditures; risk and time preference; financial literacy; confidence
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
-saving behavior: index of self-reported savings on the intensive and extensive margin
-saving attitude: index of preferences for saving and spending (e.g., "spending now is better than saving for the future")
-saving environment: index of household conditions related to saving (e.g., perceived parental preferences for youth saving, number of bank accounts)
-saving risk perception: index of perceived safety of saving in various locations (e.g., home, school)
-work: index of self-reported income-generating activities and earnings
-expenditures: index of self-reported spending
-confidence: index of self-esteem, attitude toward school, and attitude toward success measures (e.g., "confident in taking exams at school")
-financial literacy: index of responses to a spending and allocation exercise
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
We exploited the intended phase-in of the Aflatoun program to employ an experimental design for this study. 135 schools were randomly allocated to the Aflatoun Intervention, the Honest Money Box intervention or a control group. We sampled from primary and junior secondary schools in three regions: 36 in Nkwanta, 30 in Ga East, and 69 in Sekondi Takoradi Metropolitan Area (STMA). In each region, an equal number of schools were allocated to each of the three interventions. We also stratified the treatment assignment by number of parallel tracks the school had, gender ratios and number of textbooks per school. These data were obtained from administrative records of the Ghana Education Services.

Our sample frame includes 40 students from each grade 5 for primary schools, and 40 students from each grade 7 for junior secondary schools. We used this sample frame in order to focus on children with more access to finances and money than their younger peers. Attrition rates for the follow-up survey were very low: we re-interviewed 99 percent of the children included in the baseline. In the analysis, we analyze outcomes for all children for whom we have baseline and endline data as a function of the treatment their school received.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
In office by a computer. We stratified the randomization on 4 variables: region, enrollment per stream (within-grade divisions), gender ratios, and number of textbooks (adjusted for enrollment). The school-level variables were taken from a 2010 census of Ghanaian schools.
Randomization Unit
school
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
135 schools
Sample size: planned number of observations
5,364 students
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
45 schools control, 45 schools Aflatoun curriculum, 45 schools Honest Money Box curriculum
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Supporting Documents and Materials

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IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Innovations for Poverty Action IRB - USA
IRB Approval Date
2010-08-19
IRB Approval Number
465.10August-003
Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
Yes
Intervention Completion Date
August 31, 2011, 12:00 AM +00:00
Is data collection complete?
Yes
Data Collection Completion Date
August 31, 2011, 12:00 AM +00:00
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
135 schools
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
No
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
5291
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
45 control, 45 Aflatoun, 45 Honest Money Box
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
No
Program Files
Program Files
No
Reports and Papers
Preliminary Reports
Relevant Papers