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Researchers : Assets for Independence Impact Study
Complete Description: The Assets For Independence(AFI) program is a multi‐site, national demonstration supporting innovative asset‐building projects, which feature Individual Development Accounts (IDAs), financial education, and related services that enable low‐income people to improve their economic status and become self‐sufficient. The program involves three components: 1) grant funding for two categories of IDA projects— regular projects and special State projects; 2) support for grantees and their partners through training and technical assistance provided by the HHS AFI Resource Center; and 3) ongoing research and evaluation about project administration and the impacts of AFI projects and IDAs. This study reports on a nonexperimental impact study that examines the effects of IDAs on AFI participants, based on a three-year longitudinal survey of 600 participants nationwide. This study provides the first national empirical evidence to date on the effects of the AFI program on participant outcomes. For most of the outcome measures, participant outcomes are compared to outcomes for AFI-eligible nonparticipants in the general population. Comparison data on matched nonparticipants come from the Census Bureau’s Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP). The analysis examines the effects of AFI participation on homeownership, business ownership, postsecondary education, employment status (whether employed or self-employed and the amount of monthly earnings), and key components of net worth (financial assets, home equity, and consumer debt). It also examines whether participant outcomes vary systematically among accountholders of differing demographic characteristics, among AFI projects with differing design features and organizational aspects, and among communities with differing economic conditions. Although these impacts may be overstated due to the nonexperimental nature of the evalution, the study provides suggestive evidence that AFI programs have favorable effects on the major program goals. Estimated third-year program effects were positive and statistically significant on all three forms of AFI-supported asset ownership. By these estimates, participants were 35 percent more likely to be homeowners at the end of the third year compared to demographically matched nonparticipants,84 percent more likely to own businesses at the end of the third year than were nonparticipants. The program also was estimated to nearly double the likelihood that an individual pursued postsecondary education. The program was found to also increase slightly the probability of employment for AFI participants, relative to nonparticipants, but had no statistically significant effects on components of net worth
Date Published:Friday, February 1, 2008
Author:Gregory Mills, Ken Lam, Donna DeMarco, Christopher Rodger, and Bulbul Kaul
Funding Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Type: Report;
Source: Survey data;
Language: English
Audience: Researcher