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Household economic strengthening through financial and psychosocial programming: Evidence from a field experiment in South Africa

Janina Isabel Steinert, Lucie Dale Cluver, Franziska Meinck, Jenny Doubt and Sebastian Vollmer

Journal of Development Economics, 2018, vol. 134, issue C, 443-466

Abstract: Using data from a randomized field experiment with 552 households, nested within 40 villages and townships in South Africa, we examine the impact of a brief financial literacy training that was integrated into a broader psychosocial parenting intervention. Based on self-reported measures, we document significant improvements in financial behaviors, including higher saving and lower borrowing rates. We also see wider implications for household economic welfare, demonstrated by reduced self-reported financial distress, better resilience to economic shocks, and a greater capacity to securing basic needs. We argue that program impact may run through three effect channels, namely improved self-efficacy, higher family and community social support, and greater optimism. Overall, our findings suggest that “hybrid” program curricula that offer combinations of financial and psychosocial components can add value to stand-alone financial literacy training.

Keywords: Financial literacy; Saving; Parenting; RCT; South Africa (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D14 D91 I31 O12 O16 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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