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

  • 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

  • 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.

Diverging Paths: Youth Debt, College, and Family Background

The Ohio State University

  • 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.

Understanding Financial Literacy Decay to Improve Financial Behaviors of Young Adults

University of Rhode Island

  • 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

  • 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.

The Effects of K-12 Financial Education Mandates on Student Postsecondary Education Outcomes

Montana State University

  • Principal Investigator: Carly Urban
  • The purpose of this project is to understand how K-12 financial education mandates impact post-secondary education outcomes for young adults.

Financial Fragility in the US: Evidence and Implications

George Washington University

  • Principal Investigator: Annamaria Lusardi
  • The purpose of this project is to analyze financial fragility measures across two different datasets – the 2015 National Financial Capability Study (NFCS) and the 2015 Survey of Household Economics and Decisionmaking (SHED) – and to conduct focus groups to gain additional insights about people’s capacity to cope with unexpected expenses. Researchers will: look at how financial fragility is related to sociodemographic characteristics, including financial literacy; analyze how financial fragility is related to measures of financial distress; study the roots of financial fragility (examining to what extent it is determined by lack of assets, inability to borrow, or lack of financial savvy); and study how financial fragility influences planning for short-term and long-term behaviors.

Making it Stick: Using Cognitive Science and Technology to Enhance the Impact of Financial Education

Dartmouth College

  • Principal Investigator: Sean Kang
  • The purpose of this project is to harness cognitive learning principles and smartphone apps to improve the long-term retention and efficacy of financial education interventions. Retrieving from memory (i.e., testing yourself), processing elaborated feedback, and spacing practice out over time are effective ways to promote durable learning. These learning strategies will be implemented in a smartphone app that participants in financial education workshops will use to review/practice target concepts after the workshop. The effects on long-term retention/application of the concepts and on financial decision-making will be assessed.

Working Longer: Evidence and Implications for a Heterogeneous Workforce

George Washington University

  • The purpose of this project is to understand the barriers to the supply of and demand for phased retirement faced by employers and workers. The demand for flexible retirement options will be observed through a literature review and analysis of data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS). Employers, legal experts and policymakers will also be interviewed to understand the impediments to the supply of phased retirement programs.

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