What do Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) cost? As a follow-up to Schreiner (2000a), this paper estimates the value of resources used in the first 33 months of an IDA program at the Community Action Project of Tulsa County (CAPTC). As a financial-cost analysis, the paper makes no attempt to measure costs that cannot be straightforwardly valued in financial terms nor to measure benefits of any kind. Subject to a standard set of caveats and qualifications, four results emerge. First, the social cost (excluding matches) of the production of a participant-month was about $64. Second, given that IDA participants had net deposits of about $29 per month, each dollar saved had a social cost of about $2.20. Third, given an average match rate of about 1.5:1, IDAs produced a dollar of asset accumulation at a social cost of about $1.50. Fourth, average costs at CAPTC were lower in the first 33 months than in the first 15 months, but they are unlikely to fall much further.
Schreiner, M. (2002). What do individual development accounts cost? The first three years at CAPTC (CSD Report No. 02-17). St. Louis, MO: Washington University, Center for Social Development.