Wealth Effects of an Asset-Building Intervention Among Rural Households in Sub-Saharan Africa

Type Journal Article - Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research
Title Wealth Effects of an Asset-Building Intervention Among Rural Households in Sub-Saharan Africa
Volume 3
Issue 4
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2012
Page numbers 329-345
URL http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Rainier_Masa/publication/258201232_Wealth_Effects_of_an_Asset-Bu​ilding_Intervention_Among_Rural_Households_in_Sub-Saharan_Africa/links/0046352730b16a7c9c000000.pdf
Asset development is a key strategy to promote economic and social development in Sub-Saharan Africa. Research has found associations between asset ownership and household well-being. However, to date there has been little rigorous research on impacts of asset-building interventions for families in Sub-Saharan Africa. Data were obtained from AssetsAfrica, a demonstration and research initiative designed to test asset-building innovations in Masindi, Uganda. The study sample consists of 393 individuals assigned to the intervention group (n = 203) or the comparison group (n =190). The intervention is a structured, matched-savings account offered to the intervention group for a 3-year period. In addition, the program participants were offered financial education and asset-management training. Participants who successfully reach their savings goals receive matched funds at a 1:1 ratio. Propensity score optimal matching and matching estimators are used to investigate the impact of the intervention on financial and productive assets. Results indicate a positive effect of the intervention on family financial assets; that is, individuals who receive the asset-building intervention have almost $39 more in financial assets than those in the comparison group. Further, the matching estimators indicate a statistically significant larger treatment effect on the treated group. However, the impact of the intervention on ownership of productive assets is less conclusive. Overall, results of this study show that asset-building interventions have potential utility as a policy solution for improving the economic well-being of poor households in Sub-Saharan Africa.

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