Do Financial Education Interventions for Women from Poor Households Impact Their Financial Behaviors? Experimental Evidence from India

10 Jul 2018

Policy makers have invested significant resources in financial education to improve financial literacy of the poor, reduce bad financial decision-making, and increase take-up of financial services and products. Yet there is limited evidence on the effectiveness of such interventions, especially in developing countries. This paper provides evidence from a clustered Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT) where a relatively light (a day of training) financial education program was offered to a large sample of women (n=1281) from poor households in non-formal community settings. The educational intervention was a significant departure from the more costly traditional classroom style adult education interventions. It was based on simple ‘Rules of Thumb’ and used a goal-oriented and action-focused approach, targeted at changing behaviors. We find evidence of modest, positive treatment effects for some outcomes including an increase in personal savings, achieved at a relatively low cost of training per participant.