Ongoing Research Projects

Listed below are the projects that are currently in progress. Check back often for updates and new findings!


Social Influences on Financial Decision Making

Duke University – Scheduled for Completion October 2017

  • Principal Investigators: Scott A. Huettel and Rachel Kranton
  • The purpose of this project is to evaluate how social influences (e.g., social norms, information provided by friends and relatives) shape financial literacy and decision making within adolescents and young adults. Funding will support experiments that will use methods from neuroscience (e.g., functional MRI) and marketing science (e.g., eye tracking) to uncover the mechanisms of financial behavior and how social influences can lead to either positive or negative financial decisions.

Building Financial Self-Efficacy in Low Income Young Children

University of Kansas – Scheduled for Completion July 2017

  • Principal Investigator: Barbara J. Phipps
  • The purpose of this project is to gain insight into the effects of financial education and Child Savings Accounts (CSAs) on five- to nine-year-old children’s financial knowledge and emerging identities of financial and educational success.

Untangling the Determinants of Retirement Savings Balances.

The New School – Scheduled for Completion January 2017

  • Principal Investigator: Teresa Ghilarducci
  • The purpose of this project is to determine how life events, such as unemployment spell, disability, marriage, and divorce impact retirement savings, and how these impacts differ by race, sex, and income categories

Diverging Paths: Youth Debt, College, and Family Background

The Ohio State University - Scheduled for Completion: June 2017

  • Principal Investigator: Rachel Dwyer
  • The purpose of this project is to expand knowledge about social groups for whom student loans may be particularly important, but also risky. This research will focus on youth populations that have received too little scholarly attention: community college students, youth from lower income families, and youth who experience financial problems.

Adult Fiscal Competency: An Analysis of Financial Behavior During the Transition to Adulthood

University of Minnesota-Twin Cities - Scheduled for Completion: February 2017

  • Principal Investigator: Joyce Serido
  • The purpose of this project is to examine emerging adult financial behavior as a decision-making process leading to adult thriving. This is the fifth installment of the longitudinal Arizona Pathways to Life Success (APLUS) study, which has been following a large, diverse college student sample since 2008. The research will provide insights for empowering young adults nationwide to make positive life choices during a time of economic and social change.

Enhancing Retirement Savings with School-Based Financial Education

George Washington University - Scheduled for Completion: September 2016

  • Principal Investigator: Annamaria Lusardi
  • The purpose of this project is to analyze findings from the OECD’s 2012 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) financial literacy data and their implications for the development of sustainable retirement systems. The analysis will provide insights into how high schools can play a role in shaping the financial habits of future consumers.

Understanding Financial Literacy Decay to Improve Financial Behaviors of Young Adults

University of Rhode Island - Scheduled for Completion: February 2018

  • Principal Investigator: Stephen Atlas
  • The purpose of this project is to explore how objective financial literacy (knowledge) and subjective financial literacy (confidence) decay following financial literacy education programs, and how they jointly affect financial behavior. The researchers hypothesize that subjective financial literacy declines more slowly than objective knowledge, leading to overconfidence that can adversely impact financial decision making. The project seeks to understand when these drift out of alignment to provide insights and improvements to financial literacy education.

Financial Capability and Asset Building: Preparing Social Workers to Reach Millions of Households

Washington University - Scheduled for Completion: December 2017

  • Principal Investigator: Michael Sherraden
  • The purpose of this project is to conduct research with Council on Social Work Education in surveying social work faculty across the country to assess financial content currently being taught, identify financial content that faculty believe would be useful in their courses, and assess barriers to teach financial content in the social work curriculum. This project is part of a larger effort called the Financial Capability and Asset Building (FCAB) initiative. The vision of the initiative is social work and human services practitioners that are well prepared to improve financial functioning and well-being in financially vulnerable households. Toward this end, the Center for Social Development aims to develop and put in place a comprehensive professional curriculum for social workers and other human service professionals to prepare them to assist lower income households to demonstrate effective financial practices.