The Impact of Financial Education for Youth in Ghana

James Berry, Dean Karlan, Menno Pradhan

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Governments and non-governmental organizations promote school-based financial literacy programs as means to instill financial behaviors that can persist through adulthood. We conduct a randomized trial of two financial literacy education programs in government-run Ghanaian primary and junior high schools. The first integrated both financial and social education, while the second included only financial education. Our study finds that after nine months, both programs had positive impacts on self-reported savings at school relative to the control group, but there were no statistically significant increases in aggregate savings nor in hypothesized mechanisms such as attitudes, preferences, or knowledge. The financial education-only treatment led to a weakly statistically significant increase in child labor relative to the control group, although the difference in impact between the two treatment groups was not statistically significant. The lack of short-term effects of these programs on financial behaviors and attitudes indicate that alternative program designs should be evaluated to understand whether and how these outcomes can be influenced among students in this age group.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-89
Number of pages19
JournalWorld Development
Early online date21 Oct 2017
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018


  • financial literacy
  • savings
  • youth finance


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