Absence of conflict of interest.
- The study’s objective was to examine the impact of the Dollar Works 2 curriculum on financial literacy.
- The authors used a nonexperimental design to compare the outcomes of individuals who participated in Dollar Works 2 to individuals who did not. The study used data from a financial literacy survey administered before the intervention, after the intervention, and two months later.
- The study found a significant relationship between participating in Dollar Works 2 and higher financial literacy indices of spending, consumer information, and understanding a pay statement.
- This study receives a low evidence rating. This means we are not confident that the estimated effects are attributable to the Dollar Works 2 Curriculum; other factors are likely to have contributed.
Dollar Works 2 Curriculum
Features of the Intervention
The Dollar Works 2 curriculum was initially developed in 1997 (as Dollar Works) and updated in 2007. Dollar Works 2 teaches basic economic concepts in order to strengthen financial skills and money management (e.g., making decisions about money, saving and investing, managing debt). The curriculum includes activities so participants can practice the financial concepts in their lives. The updated curriculum includes a cultural component to meet the needs of minority and impoverished individuals. The curriculum includes 12 units that are delivered over 2-3 sessions; the total instruction time is approximately six hours.
Features of the Study
The study was a nonexperimental design that compared the financial literacy outcomes of individuals who participated in Dollar Works 2 to those who did not. The study included a total of 127 participants, with 69 in the treatment group and 58 in the comparison group. At the beginning of the study, the treatment and comparison groups completed the Money Management Survey. The survey measured five areas of financial literacy: money behavior, financial knowledge, access to financial information, financial satisfaction, and intention to change financial behaviors.
The treatment group received the Dollar Works 2 curriculum after the baseline survey was completed. After the treatment group completed the Dollar Works 2 curriculum, the treatment and comparison groups completed the survey for a second time. Next, the comparison group received the Dollar Works 2 curriculum. After the comparison group completed the curriculum, the comparison and treatment groups competed the survey again (two-month follow-up). The statistical analyses compared the responses of the treatment and comparison groups on the second survey administration. The authors also combined data from the treatment and comparison groups at baseline and the two-month follow-up and examined pre-intervention/post-intervention differences on financial literacy for the entire sample.
Knowledge and skills for money management
- The study found that participation in Dollar Works 2 was significantly related to higher scores at post-test on three indices of financial literacy: spending, consumer information, and understanding a pay statement.
- At the two-month follow-up, the study found that that participation in Dollar Works 2 was significantly related to higher scores for overall money behavior, saving, consumer information, and financial satisfaction.
Considerations for Interpreting the Findings
The authors noted that the treatment and comparison groups differed in three indices of financial literacy before program participation (use of financial institutions, understanding a pay statement, and financial knowledge). However, the authors did not control for differences between the groups on the baseline measures of financial literacy or ensure that the groups were equivalent in age, race/ethnicity, and gender as required by the review protocol. These preexisting differences between the groups—and not the Dollar Works 2 curriculum—could explain the observed differences in outcomes. Therefore, the study is not eligible for a moderate causal evidence rating, the highest rating available for nonexperimental designs.
Causal Evidence Rating
The study received a low causal evidence rating because the authors did not ensure that the groups being compared were similar before the intervention. This means we are not confident that the estimated effects are attributable to the Dollar Works 2 Curriculum; other factors are likely to have contributed.