A major hypothesis of asset-building is that early access to savings accounts leads to continued and improved educational and economic outcomes over time. This study asks whether or not young adults (ages 18 to 22), particularly lower-income young adults, are significantly more likely to own savings accounts and to accumulate more savings when they have access to savings accounts at banking institutions as adolescents (ages 13 to 17). We investigate this question using longitudinal data (low-to-moderate income sample [LMI; N = 530]; low-income sample [LI; N = 354]) from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics and its supplements. Results from propensity score weighting and bivariate probit estimates support this hypothesis. Asset-building policies that extend early access to savings accounts may improve savings outcomes for young people from lower-income households.
This paper was presented during the Assets and Education Symposium, a March 2012 conference cosponsored by the University of Kansas School of Social Welfare and CSD. The symposium was convened to explore the role of savings and asset holding in post-secondary educational achievement. Many of the original conference papers are accessible in the center’s online collection and were subsequently developed for publication in Assets and Educational Attainment: Theory and Evidence, a special issue of Economics of Education Review.
Subsequent publication: Friedline, T., Elliott, W., III, & Chowa, G. A. (2013). Testing an asset-building approach for young people: Early access to savings predicts later savings. Economics of Education Review, 33, 31–51. doi:10.1016/j.econedurev.2012.10.004
Project: College Success