Incentive structures are key to the success of asset-building programs. a review of the existing literature reveals a lack of knowledge regarding the time dimension of incentive structures embedded in the asset-building programs. It is not clear how saving performance may change even when institutional settings stay the same over time. Using cash flow data from I Can Save, a small-scale Child Development Account demonstration project, this study closely examines how two institutional components, seed deposit and match cap, affect net savings over the four-year observation period. Results from the descriptive and multivariate analyses show that saving performance is a function of time in response to the institutional incentives, namely, seed deposit and match cap. The findings suggest that the effects of asset building programs can be time dependent, and the temporal aspect of program effects may have important implications for developing effective asset-building programs.
Project: I Can Save
Guo, B., Sherraden, M. S., & Johnson, L. (2009). Seed deposit, match cap, and net savings patterns: An assessment of institutional incentives in the I Can Save program (CSD Working Paper No. 09-13). St. Louis, MO: Washington University, Center for Social Development.