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Publication Date

January 2010


Adriane M. Casalotti, Gina A. N. Chowa, Michal Grinstein-Weiss

Homeownership is a desirable goal for most Americans and is considered an integral part of the American Dream. Empirical studies indicate homeownership has many positive outcomes. However, homeownership is not prevalent among low-income populations.

Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) are matched savings accounts designed to help the working poor save for a home or other assets.

This paper examines the savings outcomes of IDA participants saving for a home in the American Dream Policy Demonstration, which was the first large-scale test of IDAs. Data were collected from 1997 to 2001 on 1176 participants saving to purchase a home.Results indicate that low-income IDA participants can successfully save when provided structured opportunities.

This paper examines individual and program characteristics that are important to explaining saving behaviors. Implications for policy makers, program administrators, and future research are given.


Topics(s): Affordable Homeownership, Financial Inclusion, Financial Services Industry, Housing Policy, Mortgage Finance, Savings & Asset-Building