Child Development Accounts (CDAs) are savings or investment accounts typically opened at birth or during a child’s early years with the aim of promoting savings and asset accumulation for child development purposes, such as post-secondary education or homeownership. Beginning in January of 2017, the Israeli government established a universal CDA program called the Saving for Every Child Program (SECP). Under the program, every Israeli child gets a personal investment fund into which the government makes monthly contributions, and parents can further opt to make additional monthly deposits and change the default deposit location for these funds (a savings account versus an investment fund). Using population-level administrative data, this paper examines SECP enrollment and participation patterns for the first six months following the program’s inception. We observe generally high rates of program participation among SECP-eligible households. However, we also find that more affluent, better educated, more employed, and ethnic majority households tend to engage with the program at higher rates and in ways that will likely yield higher economic returns in the future. These results indicate that while the SECP, as currently designed, may increase the overall financial security of Israelis, it may also contribute to growing economic inequality.
Project: International Policy Initiatives
Grinstein-Weiss, M., Pinto, O., Kondratjeva, O., Roll, S. P., Bufe, S., Barkali, N., & Gottlieb, D. (2019). Enrollment and participation in a universal child savings program: Evidence from the rollout of Israel’s National Program. Children and Youth Services Review. 101, 225-238.