Society for Social Work and Research

Sixteenth Annual Conference Research That Makes A Difference: Advancing Practice and Shaping Public Policy
11-15 January 2012 I Grand Hyatt Washington I Washington, DC

192 Understanding Individual, Institutional, and Environmental Determinants of Savings and Asset Accumulation Globally: Examples From Uganda, United States China, and Ghana

Sunday, January 15, 2012: 10:45 AM-12:15 PM
Farragut Square (Grand Hyatt Washington)
Cluster: International Social Work and Global Issues
Symposium Organizer:
Gina Chowa, PhD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Background and Purpose: Saving and asset building are of interest to many professions. As a result examining and explaining the determinants of saving and asset building has received remarkable attention. Determinants include income and age by economists (Modigliani & Ando, 1957), personality characteristics by behavioral economists, (Katona, 1975; Thaler & Shefrin, 1981; Wärneryd, 1999), and class and social stratification by sociologists (D'Souza, 1981; Weber, 1967). Social workers examine the effect of institutional variables such as access, incentives, expectation, and facilitation in promoting saving (Beverly & Sherraden, 1999; Sherraden, 1991; Sherraden, Schreiner, & Beverly, 2003) in addition to internal capabilities of people (Sherraden, 2010). Although remarkable progress in understanding determinants has been made, understanding what combination of these determinants propels poor peoples savings and assets is not complete.

This symposium aims to present studies from Uganda, China, Ghana and United States that use a range of models of determinants of saving and asset accumulation. These include individual and family (economic and psychology), environmental (social class), and institutional and programmatic (economics and sociology).

Methods: The Uganda project (n=203) uses Hierarchical Regression Modeling (HRM) to assess the importance of a set of predictor variables, on savings. The study in the United States employs Growth Mixture Models (GMM) to explore asset accumulation patterns of families with young children (n=991 mothers and n=1036 children). The China project uses descriptive (n=1200), administrative and in-depth interviews (n=20) to assess associations of programmatic factors and asset accumulation. The Ghana project uses Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) (n=51) and cognitive interview (n=20) of samples of youth ages 12 to 14 to investigate internal and external factors of Financial Capability.

Results: In the Uganda study, HRMs analysis suggest that compared with the individual and environmental/structural perspective, institutional features explain a large part of the variance in saving outcome (incremental R2= 0.332). Findings from the China project indicate that the program increased local farmer's access to financial services by 92%, augmented local social insurance funds by an annual growth rate of 8.3%, increased retirement savings by participants by 57%. The Ghana project findings indicate that dropping items such as borrowing money and talking to family members improved reliability from α=.08 to α=.65 in a money management scale. In the United States study age of mothers at time of child birth (older mothers have 1.5 times odds of belonging to high savings classes than low saving class), and race, with non-Black/non-Hispanic mothers are 12.5 times the odds of belonging to the high savings class compared to African-American mothers.

Conclusions: The findings from this symposium suggest that institutional structures encouraging low-income individuals to save may contribute to a poverty reduction policy that shifts from just income supplementation to more inclusive wealth promotion policy.

* noted as presenting author
Individual and Institutional Determinants of Saving and Asset Building In Masindi, Uganda: Evidence From AssetsAfrica
Gina Chowa, PhD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Rainier D. Masa, MSW, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; David Ansong, MSW, Washington University in Saint Louis
The Hutubi Model: An Asset-Based Innovation for Inclusive Growth In China
Jin Huang, MSW, Washington University in Saint Louis; Baorong Guo, PhD, University of Missouri-Saint Louis; Li Zou, MSW, Washington University in Saint Louis; Michael Sherraden, PhD, Washington University in Saint Louis
Financial Capability for Youth In Ghana: Understanding the Developmental and Cultural Validity of Asset Building Inquiry In a Developing Country
Mathieu R. Despard, MSW, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Gina Chowa, PhD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
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