The Effect of Peer-Based Financial Education on Financial Decision Making: Experimental Evidence for Foreign Domestic Workers in Singapore

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1 The Effect of Peer-Based Financial Education on Financial Decision Making: Experimental Evidence for Foreign Domestic Workers in Singapore April 2013

2 Motivation Literature FDWs in Singapore The Intervention Descriptives, Balance & Attrition Results

3 Feminization of Migrant Labour Women form an increasing part of the international migratory movements At 49.2 per cent, female migrants constitute almost half of the international migrant population (UNDP 2005) Most studies involving migrant workers assume financial behaviour and outcomes to be gender-neutral. Women and men face different psycho-social barriers and family responsibilities This may differentially influence savings, remittances and control over how the money is used

4 Some Economic Implications Transnational migration creates intra-household information asymmetries Asymmetric information may lead to greater ineffi ciencies among female migrants. Women less financially literate and lack confidence in financial decision making (Lusardi & Mitchell, 2008) Financial decision-making often affected by intra-household considerations (Ashraf, 2009) impact of spousal control

5 Scope of this Study First, we study the effect of financial education given to Filipino Domestic Workers (FDWs) in Singapore on their financial outcomes A second aim is to make new contributions to a large literature on intra-household decision-making We study the impact of increased female control of resources on household savings

6 Key Questions Addressed Financial literacy: the ability to process financial information and make informed decisions regarding the use and management of money The effect of financial literacy on: * Financial Knowledge and Planning * Savings and Remittances * Control over remittances * Heterogenous effects

7 Financial Literacy Endogeneity: Individuals who are more able, responsible, and self-motivated are more likely to enroll in a financial literacy training and make sound financial choice We conduct a Randomized study of the impact of peer-based financial literacy training given to Foreign Domestic Workers (FDWs) in Singapore

8 Transnational Migration & Financial Literacy Most randomized studies have focussed on impacts of financial literacy training on micro-entrepreneurs. Effect of financial literacy on household and individuals have been less researched. Transnational household literature even more muted Gibson, McKenzie, and Zia (2012): RCT targeted at improving Australia and NZ based migrant remittance decision-making, they find limited impacts Doi, McKenzie, and Zia (2012): distinguishes between the impacts of training Indonesian migrants alone, family members alone, or migrants and family members together Seshan & Yang (2012): Explore issues of control among migrant Indian workers in Qatar and their wives in India

9 Intra-Household Decision Making A wide variety of empirical studies have cast serious doubt on the unitary model of the household Empirically, several studies find that household outcomes such as savings and expenditures are influenced by household bargaining power However, the direction of the impact of increased female control of resources on household savings is unclear

10 Intra-Household Decision Making Browning (2000) shows that saving ratio declines if the bargaining power of the wife increases Lundberg and Pollak (1996) argue in favour of the kids-do-better hypothesis Gibson et. al. (2006) find that women s greater bargaining power results in a lower net worth in the pre-retirement cohort of couples in New Zealand. Phipps and Woolley (2008) find, using Canadian data, that giving women more control over finances leads to a decline in savings rate. The good mom hypothesis : perhaps women are not saving because they would rather invest in their children.

11 Intra-Household Decision Making Exisiting studies mostly use the relative household income share of the wife as a proxy for bargaining power There are obvious issues of endogeneity here that is often ignored in the literature Some studies also use education and age related variables as measures of bargaining power But education differences are determined before marriage and much before consumption and savings is observed Moreover, education differences may not reflect the outcome of bargaining

12 Contribution to the Literature A key feature of the financial literacy classes that we evaluate is the emphasis on control over savings and remittances The ability to say no to unnecessary expenses, both by the migrant and the family We also have direct measures of barganing power, eg. questions on disagreements with family and control over remittances

13 Source Country: Philippines It is the fourth largest remittance receiving country in the world The remittances of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) exceed FDI in the country (US$ 23 billion per annum in 2011) 87% of international migrants in the services sector from the Philippines in 2010 were women Among these, 70% were domestic workers

14 Host Country: Singapore Singapore hosts 201,000 FDWs, the majority of them came from Philippines Domestic workers from Philippines estimated at 163,000 as of December 2010 One in five households employ a live-in maid in Singapore FDWs must be between 23 and 50 years old and may work up to the age of 60 Atleast 8 years minimum formal education

15 Domestic Workers in Singapore Not covered under the employment act Minimum salary of S$ 350 (approximately US$ 278) for maids with no experience No mandated number of days off during the study period Generally off on atleast two (alternate) sundays

16 Aidha Aidha: a non-profit organization based in Singapore that is dedicated to providing Financial education to female migrant workers Courses in management and entrepreneurship, financial education, computer skills and marketing and communication classes We evaluate Aidha s peer-based savings clubs: The Compass Club members, who meet for three hours, once a month for 9 months along with a life-planning coach to discuss savings goals and priorities

17 Compass Club The four main learnings of the program: * a) Importance of savings and identifying reasons to save, * b) Learning to say no to unnecessary expenses, both by the individual and her family members * c) How to control remittances * d) Visualizing and accomplishing financial goals and business plans Important role of peer support group

18 Sample and Baseline Our sample of women was drawn from those attending computer or cooking classes in two different locations Pilot in 2010, baseline in January 2011: A total of 369 Filipino domestic workers were surveyed in the baseline 207 women were assigned to the treatment group and were invited to attend four compass clubs beginning in March 2011 Initial registration fee (S$55) paid by student, however, we refunded the amount in a staggered way Separated location from main Aidha campus

19 Endline Endline surveys completed by a survey firm by phone in November 2011 The respondents were given $40 grocery vouchers as an incentive to complete the survey We interviewed 280 women, i.e. 77% of the baseline sample, in the follow up surveys Information was collected on individual and household characteristics, employment attributes, asset ownership, decision-making, expenditure, borrowing, savings and remittances. Two sets of questions on mathematical ability and risk aversion

20 Table 1: Summary statistics from baseline survey and balance Difference Conditional Conditional on Difference Stratification Among Non Attriters All Control Treatment Difference Block (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) Age (7.91) (7.53) (8.23) (0.74) (0.61) (0.90) Years of Schooling * (2.07) (2.12) (2.03) (0.15) (0.17) (0.24) Married (0.48) (0.48) (0.47) (0.05) (0.05) (0.09) No. of Children (1.28) (1.31) (1.26) (0.16) (0.17) (0.23) Years in Singapore (6.08) (6.45) (5.80) (0.39) (0.34) (0.55) No. of Days Off Each Month (18.80) (1.63) (25.05) (1.61) (1.62) (0.18) Earnings (in SGD) (533.7) (771.7) (186.2) (67.42) (12.05) (12.60) Monthly Expenses (in SGD) (673.7) (130.7) (901.8) (77.22) (98.71) (21.77) Fin Lit Questions Correct * (0.33) (0.34) (0.33) (0.03) (0.03) (0.03) Fin Lit Questions Attempted (0.34) (0.33) (0.35) (0.03) (0.03) (0.04) Risk Aversion * (0.49) (0.48) (0.50) (0.07) (0.08) (0.07) Happy with Savings (0.44) (0.44) (0.44) (0.04) (0.05) (0.08) Has a Pension Plan (0.49) (0.50) (0.48) (0.05) (0.06) (0.06) Control over Remittances *** 0.23** 0.22* (0.50) (0.45) (0.50) (0.07) (0.09) (0.12) Disagreements (0.50) (0.50) (0.50) (0.07) (0.07) (0.09) N

21 Attrition Table 2: Differential Attrition Across Treatment and Control Groups Dependent Variable: Attrited Interactions Main Effect with Treatment Indicator (1) (2) (3) Treated (0.047) (0.053) (0.523) Age (0.004) (0.007) (0.011) Years of Schooling * (0.010) (0.017) (0.032) Married (0.050) (0.083) (0.133) No. of Children (0.021) (0.051) (0.072) Years in Singapore (0.006) (0.009) (0.009) No. of Days Off Each Month 0.002*** (0.000) (0.036) (0.036) Earnings (in SGD) (0.000) (0.000) (0.000) Monthly Expenses (in SGD) (0.000) (0.000) (0.001) Fin Lit Questions Correct (0.114) (0.249) (0.336) Fin Lit Questions Attempted (0.173) (0.259) (0.404) Risk Aversion * (0.078) (0.089) (0.119) Happy with Savings (0.078) (0.120) (0.135) Has a Pension Plan (0.062) (0.096) (0.130) Control over Remittances (0.061) (0.115) (0.143) Disagreements (0.085) (0.0974) (0.117) Observations SMU, 408 Wellesley College, University of Michigan R Squared

22 Predictors of Take-Up Table 3: Predictors of takeup among the treatment group Dependent Variable: Enrolled (1) (2) (3) (4) Age (0.002) (0.002) (0.002) (0.002) Years of Schooling 0.031** (0.015) (0.013) (0.017) (0.015) Married (0.047) (0.060) (0.048) (0.070) No. of Children (0.023) (0.016) (0.027) (0.021) Years in Singapore (0.006) (0.004) (0.007) (0.003) No. of Days Off Each Month ** (0.000) (0.001) (0.000) (0.001) Earnings (in SGD) (0.000) (0.000) Monthly Expenses (in SGD) ** (0.000) (0.000) Fin Lit Questions Correct (0.184) (0.156) Fin Lit Questions Attempted (0.196) (0.173) Risk Aversion 0.240** (0.106) (0.157) Happy with Savings (0.055) (0.066) Has a Pension Plan (0.045) (0.054) Control over Remittances (0.066) (0.066) Disagreements (0.063) SMU, Wellesley (0.086) College, University of Michigan Observations R Squared

23 Results: Financial Knowledge & Planning Table 4: Reduced Form Effect on Financial Knowledge and Behavior Made Financial Plan Past 6 Months Will Make Financial Plan Next 12 Months Fin Lit Questions Correct Fin Lit Knowledgable Questions about Pension Attempted Knowledgable about Budget Risk Aversion Regret Purchase in Past Month Has a Pension Plan (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) Panel A Assigned to treatment * (0.056) (0.046) (0.029) (0.021) (0.028) (0.048) (0.063) (0.081) (0.012) Panel B Assigned to treatment (0.062) (0.049) (0.037) (0.025) (0.029) (0.047) (0.061) (0.091) (0.010) Observations Mean

24 Results: Savings Any Savings Table 5: Reduced Form Effect on Savings Outcomes Total Savings Savings Savings Any Savings Any Savings in Amount of Amount in Amount in Happy with Satisfcation in Singapore Philippines Savings Singapore Philippines Savings (scale 1 10) (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) Cannot save because of low income Panel A Assigned to treatment 0.11** 468.6** (0.04) (207.2) (0.05) (58.50) (0.06) (8016.2) (0.06) (0.39) (0.02) Panel B Assigned to treatment 0.12** 481.2** 0.09* (0.04) (230.3) (0.05) (61.14) (0.07) (8915.1) (0.06) (0.42) (0.02) Observations Mean

25 Results: Other Outcomes Table 6: Reduced Form Effect on Other Outcomes Any Number of Earnings accounts accounts Monthly Expenses Not including Remittances Monthly Remittances Picked up voucher Has Full Control Over Remittances Has Disagreements Over Spending (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) Panel A Assigned to treatment *** *** (0.0636) (0.0684) (17.12) (8.536) (15.28) (0.0594) (0.0583) (0.0180) R Squared Panel B Assigned to treatment *** ** (0.0637) (0.0595) (17.97) (9.277) (17.52) (0.0673) (0.0625) (0.0214) Observations R Squared Mean

26 Results: Heterogenous Effects Kids Table 7: Reduced Form Effects, Split by Whether Respondent has Children Any Savings Total Amount of Savings Monthly Remittances Has Full Control Over Remittances Has Disagreements Over Spending (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) Panel A: With Children Assigned to treatment 0.165* 928.9* *** (0.087) (492.1) (26.64) (0.121) (0.028) Observations R Squared Mean of dependent variable Panel B: No Children Assigned to treatment ** (0.067) (404.7) (26.59) (0.114) (0.030) Observations R Squared Mean of dependent variable

27 Results: Heterogenous Effects Income Table 8: Reduced Form Effects, Split by Whether Respondent has Below Median Earnings Any Savings Total Amount of Savings Monthly Remittances Has Full Control Over Remittances Has Disagreements Over Spending (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) Panel A: Below Median Earnings Assigned to treatment 0.168*** *** (0.043) (765.6) (15.04) (0.071) (0.117) Observations R Squared Mean Panel B: Above Median Earnings Assigned to treatment ** (0.058) (395.0) (19.87) (0.084) (0.028) Observations R Squared Mean

28 Results: Remittance Channels Table 9: Reduced Form Effects on Remittance Means (Below Median Income) Bank Exchange House Door to Door Western Union (1) (2) (3) (4) Panel A Enrolled (0.137) (0.055) (0.092) (0.136) Panel B Enrolled *** (0.160) (0.053) (0.104) (0.145) Observations Mean

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