IMPACT EVALUATION SHOWS POSITIVE SHORT-TERM RESULTS OF THE LISTA INITIATIVE
In 2015, Fundación Capital teamed up with distinguished researchers Orazio Attanasio, Matthew Bird, Pablo Lavado, and Innovations for Poverty Action to evaluate the impact of the LISTA Initiative, funded by the Citi IPA Financial Capability Research Fund supported by the Citi Foundation. Under the initiative of the Government of Colombia’s (Prosperidad Social) LISTA para Ahorrar program, LISTA – an ICT4D financial education strategy designed to develop financial capabilities in low-income, underserved populations – is reaching 100,000 recipients of the Más Familias en Acción (MFA) conditional cash transfer (CCT) program in thirty municipalities across the Atlantic and Pacific coast regions. For the purposes of this study, sixty municipalities were randomly assigned to either receive the tablet-based training or to be part of a control group. Half of those municipalities were selected as areas where the program would be implemented, and the other thirty municipalities served as a control group. Among those people who received the tablet training, half of groups were randomly assigned to also receive follow-up reminder SMS messages, with the objective of testing to see whether the messages prolonged impact and kept the information and skills top-of-mind.
The preliminary midline results from December 2015 suggest that LISTA has significant short-term impact across a wide range of outcome variables. People in the treatment group acquired more financial knowledge, as measured with an ad hoc financial literacy test, and developed more positive attitudes toward the financial system and financial institutions. An impact was also observed on the general knowledge and savings habits of MFA recipients, and participants self-reported saving more money through formal and informal savings, though evidence for the former is less robust in the short-term. A summary of the report is available here, and endline results, which will seek to validate the midterm findings as well as explore additional areas of longer-term impact, are expected in summer 2016.
The promising preliminary results of the midline survey indicate that the Colombian government’s investment in increasing the financial capabilities of CCT recipients may be having a positive impact on their lives. Furthermore, it shows the potential of digital solutions to contribute to the overarching goals of financial inclusion, and that applications designed for use by the base of the pyramid can have a catalytic effect on vulnerable and low-income communities.
Find out more about how our app promotes personal finance in this blog post by ACCION
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