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The Role of Parents in Introducing Children to Financial Services: Evidence from Ghana-YouthSave

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Financial capability—financial knowledge, skills, and access to financial services—may help smooth transitions to adulthood for youth and is affected by socialization experiences with parents and other family members. Among a sample of youth and their parents enrolled in the YouthSave experiment in Ghana (n = 4,065), this study examined whether physical access to financial services and/or visiting banks with parents or other family members was associated with youth’s perceptions and understanding of financial institutions. We found a statistically significant association between visiting the bank with a parent or other family member and youth’s attitudes (β = 1.45, p < 0.001) and understanding of financial services (β = 2.96, p < 0.001), controlling for other factors like household income and assets. Conversely, physical access (distance, travel time) was not associated with financial services attitudes or understanding. Parents may play an important role in introducing their children to financial services. Practitioners and policy makers should consider ways to include parents in efforts to promote financial capability among youth.

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The authors thank the YouthSave research participants for their time and involvement in the project, headmasters and teachers in the project schools for allowing their institutions to be part of the research, and field interviewers at the Institute of Statistical, Social, and Economic Research at the University of Ghana for their data collection support.


This study is a product of the YouthSave Project, supported by The MasterCard Foundation. The MasterCard Foundation did not take part in the design, collection, analysis and interpretation of data in this study. The funder did not take part in writing this manuscript, nor submitting the manuscript for publication. The original version of this paper was presented during the Financial Capability and Asset Building Convening hosted by the Center for Social Development at Washington University in St. Louis and University of Maryland’s School of Social Work, May 12–15, 2015. Support for this or convening was generously provided by Wells Fargo Advisors, The Arthur Vining Davis Foundation, and The Woodside Foundation.

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Correspondence to Shiyou Wu.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Wu, S., Despard, M.R. & Chowa, G. The Role of Parents in Introducing Children to Financial Services: Evidence from Ghana-YouthSave. J Fam Econ Iss 38, 453–462 (2017).

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