WILL

WILL is a field experiment aimed at testing the effectiveness of an innovative children savings account program on children’s educational attainment. The program is targeted to primary school children (5th grade) coming from low-income households, which are at risk of underinvesting in children’s education. The program offers eligible families the possibility to save regularly small amount of money (5 euros a week up to a maximum of 1,000 euros in a 4-year period time) into a dedicated bank account that provides a generous multiplier: each euro saved is multiplied by 4 if the money is spent on proven education-related expenses. Alongside the savings account, beneficiaries will also receive financial education classes and are invited to attend educational guidance events. The impact of the program on students’ school careers (e.g., high-school choice, dropout, completion, learning outcomes) will be assessed via a randomized controlled trial design. The analysis will also shed light on the mediating role played by parents’ and children’s expectations. The data will include both survey and school administrative data. Parents will be interviewed in year 3, while children will be interviewed in year 3, 4 and 6 (i.e., when they will be attending either 10th or 11th grade if they are regular students). Possible extensions will be considered conditional on the availability of extra funding and/or accessibility of administrative data. WILL follows a recent stream of other randomized studies conducted in the United States and it is the second asset-building experiment in the field of education carried out in Italy (the first was the EU-funded experiment ACHAB). The experiment will be conducted in socioeconomically deprived neighborhoods in four Italian regions (Piemonte, Abruzzo, Toscana, Sardegna). Ad-hoc recruitment and targeting procedures will be implemented in order to address the program to most-in-need students and households. The project is carried out by a large partnership of third-sector organizations, led by Un Sogno per Tutti Cooperativa Sociale (Torino). FBK-IRVAPP is in charge of the evaluation design

Date: 2019 -2023(+2)

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