Ongoing Research

NEFE currently has several projects in progress. See below for information and updates about ongoing projects. Discover more information about our research funding and learn how to apply.

Boston College

  • Principal Investigators: Angela Boatman and Katrina Borowiec
  • The purpose of this project is to develop a series of survey measures for various aspects of the NEFE Personal Finance Ecosystem. These measures will capture the nuance and complexity of these constructs for prospective/current undergraduate and graduate students and could be used in national cross-sectional and longitudinal surveys, evaluation studies of financial well-being interventions, and small-scale research studies.

Texas Tech

  • Principal Investigator: Miranda Reiter
  • The purpose of this project is to explore the Klontz Money Script Inventory-Revised (KMSI-R), a free online tool that assesses individuals’ money beliefs (e.g., beliefs) to help improve consumers’ financial well-being. The study will examine which money scripts are most at risk for lower financial literacy and financial self-efficacy to allow practitioners to intervene, assess the KMSI-R's validity on non-White samples, and suggest measurement improvement.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Stevens Institute of Technology

  • Principal Investigator: Joelle Saad-Lessler
  • The purpose of the project is to evaluate the extent that Americans invest in collectivist networks in lieu of formal savings using new data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation. Findings may inform more realistic savings policy and help reorient financial education approaches to convince all Americans of the benefits of both formal and informal savings.


  • Principal Investigator: Joseph de la Torre Dwyer
  • The purpose of the project is to explore the research question: “What is the impact of greater spending on youth financial education upon measures designed to capture the experiences and challenges of low- and moderate-income Americans?” Despite the explosion in the incidence of financial education mandates as requirements for high school graduation, there is no canonical data on an important variable: historical spending on financial education by state and by year. Such spending may tell us far more about the quality and depth of financial education than the existence of a mandate. The project proposes to first fill that historical spending gap via desk research. Then, to concretely answer the research question, the project will estimate the impact of such spending on the measures as found in the Survey of Household Economics and Decisionmaking (SHED).

University of Arizona

  • Principal Investigator: Ashley LeBaron
  • The purpose of this project is to create new, retrospective and psychometrically-tested measures of family financial socialization. Through this work, data will be collected on 5,000 U.S. emerging adults using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk to test how these new measures of family financial socialization are associated with relational and general life outcomes.

University of Alabama

  • Principal Investigator: Melissa Wilmarth
  • The purpose of this project is to demonstrate threats and consequences associated with “don’t know” and “refused to answer” responses in financial knowledge surveys, and to propose an alternate framework for survey instruments.

Urban Institute

  • Principal Investigator: Brett Theodos
  • The purpose of this project is to implement a randomized controlled trial to evaluate the impacts of rent reporting on the credit scores, debt holdings and credit access of tenants, as well as the timeliness of rent payments and eviction rates.
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