Research Evidence for CYFI’s Model of Economic Citizenship for Children and Youth
Child & Youth Finance International (CYFI) started on its mission to empower all children and youth worldwide by supporting them in realizing their potential as full economic citizens in 2011. CYFI developed its model of economic citizenship together with leading academics, multilaterals, and experts in the field. Economic citizenship empowers children and youth and builds their capabilities to be successful in life through three building blocks: financial education, social and livelihoods education, and financial inclusion. In 2011, a substantial amount of research on the benefits of financial inclusion and education for children was already available. During the past five years, that research has been complemented by numerous new studies on all components of economic citizenship.
This paper provides an overview of these additions to the literature in order to demonstrate the progress made in the field. It begins with a summary of the research baseline, which was created with CYFI’s Research White Paper in 2012, the latest document providing an extensive review of research available. It brings back the questions and suggestions for further research that were listed five years ago. They touch on topics such as: the definition of social education; the need for reliable data on financial inclusion; and understanding the individual and joint contributions of financial education and financial access. In the third chapter, recent contributions to the literature on financial education and inclusion and social and livelihoods education are introduced. A number of large-scale programs have greatly improved the knowledge of what influences account uptake by children and youth. The importance of digital solutions to problems of economic citizenship for children and youth is highlighted separately because of the strong, widely-shared interest in this topic. From this overview it becomes clear that some questions have been answered and suggestions for further research have been taken to heart. In particular, calls for experimental research using control groups and studies on the effectiveness of product and educational program design have been answered. However, some questions remain unanswered and new insights lead to further research areas to be explored. In the final chapter, this paper suggests a number of paths for further research to be picked up by actors within the Child and Youth Finance Movement. These paths include understanding the long term impact of economic citizenship interventions on behavior, studying the relevance of digital solutions for achieving financial access, and working on an optimal division of responsibilities and costs to ensure long term sustainable solutions for economic citizenship interventions. Another key topic that requires more attention still is the integrated approach to economic citizenship and how it contributes to asset building and reduced income poverty.
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