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The Effects of Access to Banking on Children: A Field Study
Last registered on November 25, 2019


Trial Information
General Information
The Effects of Access to Banking on Children: A Field Study
Initial registration date
November 22, 2019
Last updated
November 25, 2019 10:31 AM EST
Primary Investigator
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
The University of Alabama
Additional Trial Information
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
This field study tests a school-based banking program in a US public school district. Schools were randomly selected to open an in-school bank branch, and a subset of students were randomly assigned incentives to open an account at one of these branches. We focus on 4th grade (10 year old) students offered banking services, as well as those assigned an incentive to open an account. We measure changes in views of banks and financial services, as well as tests of objective financial literacy. While expanded access to a savings account at school boosts take-up of accounts, banking does not appear to substitute for financial literacy education.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Collins, J. Michael, Madelaine L'Esperance and Elizabeth Odders-White. 2019. "The Effects of Access to Banking on Children: A Field Study." AEA RCT Registry. November 25. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.5019-1.0.
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Experimental Details
Randomized access to bank in school program. The in-school branches operated once per week in a common area of the school before school, during lunch, or after school. Students were able to make deposits and withdrawals less than $20 in school.

Randomized seed deposit. Selected students received a $25 seed deposit, if they opened an account at the partner bank. Students could open joint custodial savings accounts with their parents, or could open accounts in their name only without the signature of their parents.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Savings attitude, financial services attitude, financial literacy, allowance receipt
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
In the spring of 2013, fourth grade classrooms in Amarillo Independent School District in Amarillo, Texas took part in a field study to measure the effectiveness of access to bank accounts. Access to a savings account in school, as well as incentives to make deposits, were randomly assigned to students across schools. A total of 15 schools were randomly assigned to open in-school Kid's Bank branches of Happy State Bank, a Texas-based community bank. Another 18 schools were randomly assigned to not open a bank branch, for a total of 33 schools in the study. Half of the fourth grade students who attended schools with branches were randomly selected to receive a $25 seed deposit, if they opened an account.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer.
Randomization Unit
School-level randomization for banks.
Individual-level randomization for seed deposits.
Was the treatment clustered?
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
33 schools.
Sample size: planned number of observations
635 students.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
18 schools control (no bank in school). 15 schools treatment (bank in school).
97 students assigned to control for seed deposit. 143 students assigned to receive seed deposit.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB Name
University of Wisconsin-Madison Education and Social/Behavioral Sciences Institutional Review Board
IRB Approval Date
Details not available
IRB Approval Number
Details not available
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Is the intervention completed?
Intervention Completion Date
June 15, 2013, 12:00 AM +00:00
Is data collection complete?
Data Collection Completion Date
June 15, 2013, 12:00 AM +00:00
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
33 schools
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
635 students
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
15 schools open bank in school. 18 schools control.
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?

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Program Files
Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials
Relevant Paper(s)