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, Sebastian Vollmer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)443-466
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Development Economics
Volume134
Early online date28 Jun 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2018

Keywords

  • Financial literacy
  • Parenting
  • RCT
  • Saving
  • South Africa

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