The effects of parental involvement in financial literacy education. Evidence from a randomized experiment.

Last registered on May 20, 2022

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
The effects of parental involvement in financial literacy education. Evidence from a randomized experiment.
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0003481
Initial registration date
October 23, 2018

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
October 24, 2018, 4:23 PM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.

Last updated
May 20, 2022, 5:48 AM EDT

Last updated is the most recent time when changes to the trial's registration were published.

Locations

Region

Primary Investigator

Affiliation
KU Leuven

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
KU Leuven
PI Affiliation
KU Leuven

Additional Trial Information

Status
Completed
Start date
2017-09-01
End date
2018-12-31
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Abstract
Parents play an important role in the financial education of their children. We study the impact of parental involvement in financial education in secondary education in the Flemish region of Belgium. We evaluate the impact of innovative teaching material on means of payment and assess whether involving parents by means of a homework assignment affects students’ financial knowledge and behavior. The study is based on a randomized controlled trial with 67 schools and approximately 2,800 students. To estimate the causal effect of parental involvement, schools were randomly assigned to a treatment condition. We compare test scores of students in the treatment condition with parental involvement to those from a treatment condition with homework without parental involvement, as well as to a treatment condition without any homework and a control group.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
De Witte, Kristof, Koen Declercq and Joana Elisa Maldonado. 2022. "The effects of parental involvement in financial literacy education. Evidence from a randomized experiment.." AEA RCT Registry. May 20. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.3481
Former Citation
De Witte, Kristof, Koen Declercq and Joana Elisa Maldonado. 2022. "The effects of parental involvement in financial literacy education. Evidence from a randomized experiment.." AEA RCT Registry. May 20. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/3481/history/144200
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Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
Schools are assigned to the following four experimental conditions:
1) Control group: Students do not follow the course on financial education.
2) Treatment group 1: Students follow the course on financial education.
3) Treatment group 2: Students follow the course on financial education and complete a homework assignment without their parents.
4) Treatment group 3: Students follow the course on financial education and complete a homework assignment together with one of their parents.
Intervention Start Date
2018-01-12
Intervention End Date
2018-06-30

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
We measure financial literacy by a test that contains 13 questions. This test consists of questions that measure financial knowledge as well as financial behavior.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Schools that registered for participation were randomized to the aforementioned four experimental conditions. We assessed the level of financial literacy of all students before as well as after followed the course. Students assigned to the control group completed the same tests at the same time as students in the treatment groups, without following the course between the tests. The experiment was implemented in two waves: In the first wave, students in grade 8 (the second year of secondary education in Flanders, age 13-14) participated in the experiment. In the second wave, students in grade 9 (the third year of secondary education in Flanders age 14-15) participated, completing the same course and questionnaires.

Before the intervention, all students (control group + treatment groups) filled in an online questionnaire to test their financial literacy. Students also reported several personal characteristics like gender, school grades, and socio-economic background. Teachers in the treatment groups received the course material, including instructions for implementation, after all students filled in the questionnaire.
Approximately one month after filling in the first test, students in the treatment groups followed a 4-hour financial education course on means of payment. The course material was designed as a serious game and students had to solve questions on means of payment in groups of two students. Students could find the necessary information to solve the questions in a paper booklet that complemented the digital game. As incentive for good performance during the course, the winning team received a small present. All course material was developed by high school teachers with consideration for the age and the ability of the students.
In treatment groups 2 and 3 (see above), students had to complete a homework assignment before the start of the course. In treatment group 2, students did the homework without their parents. In treatment group 3, students did a variation of the homework assignment together with their parents.
At the end of the course, students filled in a test to measure financial knowledge and financial behavior. At the same time, students in the control group also filled in this test without having followed the course. This test was designed as variation of the first test, i.e. with questions analogous to the test students completed before the intervention.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Schools were randomly assigned to the different experimental conditions by a random number generator in Stata.
Randomization Unit
In both waves, we randomized the treatment at school level. All students and teachers in the same school were assigned to the same condition. In this way, all teachers in the same school received the same teaching material and instructions in order to minimize the possibility of spill-over effects and contamination of the different treatment conditions.
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Given that the intervention has already been executed and data have been collected for both the pretest and the posttest, we report the actual number of students and schools for which we have observations for both the pretest and the posttest, i.e. the final sample for our analysis. The calculation of the minimal detectable effect size is also based on this final sample.
Wave 1: 41
Wave 2: 25
Sample size: planned number of observations
Wave 1: 2,228 Wave 2: 551
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Wave 1: grade 8
Control group = 739 pupils, 13 schools
Treatment group 1 = 400 pupils, 9 schools
Treatment group 2 = 598 pupils, 12 schools
Treatment group 3 = 491 pupils, 7 schools

Wave 2: grade 9
Control group = 111 pupils, 5 schools
Treatment group 1 = 161 pupils, 7 schools
Treatment group 2 = 124 pupils, 6 schools
Treatment group 3 = 155 pupils, 7 schools

Total sample
Control group = 850 pupils, 18 schools
Treatment group 1 = 561 pupils, 16 schools
Treatment group 2 = 772 pupils, 18 schools
Treatment group 3 = 646 pupils, 14 schools

Average number of schools per condition = 16.5
Average number of pupils per condition = 707.25
Average number of pupils per school = 42.9
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
The computation is based on List et al. (2011) and accounts for intracluster correlation in the calculation of the minimal detectable effect size. In our experimental setting, there are on average 16.5 schools in each experimental condition. Each school on average contains 42.9 students. Computation in Stata based on the posttest shows that the intracluster correlation in the final sample equals 0.1,. In the analysis, this intracluster correlation can be reduced by controlling for characteristics of schools and students. Using the conventional power of 0.8 and a significance level of 0.05, the calculation results in a minimal detectable effect size of 0.34 standard deviations. Details of the calculation: According to List et al. (2011), in a clustered design, the minimum number of observations in each experimental group can be computed as follows: n=2(t_(α/2)+t_β)²(σ/δ)²(1+(m-1)ρ) This implies that the minimum detectable effect size is equal to: δ=σ/√(n/(2(t_(α/2)+t_β)²(1+(m-1)ρ))). Or the minimum detectable effect size expressed as a fraction of a standard deviation is equal to: δ/σ=1/√(n/(2(t_(α/2)+t_β)²(1+(m-1)ρ))), i.e. δ/σ=1/√((707.25 )/(2(1.96+0.84)²(1+(42.9-1)0.1)))=0.34. Reference List, J., Sadoff, S. and Wagner, M. (2011), So you want to run an experiment, now what? Some simple rules of thumb for optimal experimental design, Experimental Economics 14, 439-457.
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number

Post-Trial

Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Intervention

Is the intervention completed?
Yes
Intervention Completion Date
June 30, 2018, 12:00 +00:00
Data Collection Complete
Yes
Data Collection Completion Date
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?
No

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Abstract
This paper provides causal evidence on the effects of parental involvement on stu- dent outcomes in a financial education course based on two randomised controlled trials with a total of 2779 students from grade 8 and 9 in Flanders. Using an exper- imental design with three treatment groups, the impact of parental involvement in homework is distinguished from the standalone impact of the classroom intervention and homework itself. Intention-to-treat analysis reveals that access to the intervention effectively improves students’ financial literacy in the two dimensions of knowledge and behaviour. The classroom intervention combined with a homework assigned to be completed with the parents increases financial literacy by 0.38 standard deviations. On average, the added value of prompting parental involvement in homework is not statistically significant. Yet, stimulating parental involvement has significant positive effects on behaviour for disadvantaged students.
Citation
Maldonado, J.E., De Witte, K., and Declercq, K. (2022). The Effects of Parental Involvement in Homework - Two Randomised Controlled Trials in Financial Education. Empirical Economics 62(3), 1439-1464.

Reports & Other Materials