The Effectiveness of Financial Literacy Instruction: The Role of Individual Development Accounts Participation and the Intensity of Instruction
general population, financial status and behavior, race and ethnicity, age, socioeconomic status, financial education program outcomes, financial knowledge
We examine improvements in financial knowledge for 8th-grade participants in our financial fitness camp, part of our multifaceted financial literacy program. Eighty-three students enrolled in the camp, and 59 had individual development accounts (IDA). We address several issues raised in the literature by focusing on low-income, predominantly Hispanic students, varying the treatment intensity, comparing outcomes for students in our IDA program with those who are not, addressing the potential endogeneity of IDA participation, and testing for selection bias. Financial knowledge increased by approximately 12 percentage points from camp participation. Standardized Language Arts scores, rather than treatment intensity or IDA participation, most affected gains in financial knowledge. There was no evidence of selection bias. Parents with high "present bias" were less likely to enroll their students in the camp, implying that integrating financial literacy education in the regular school curriculum will better serve students in such families.