Using technology to improve the financial health of low-income individuals can have long-term benefits for families and society.
The opportunity for financial technology to improve outcomes for low-income people has been widely documented. Technology can be used to deliver products and services more efficiently, as well as to help individuals make informed decisions and follow through on financial planning.
We are working on research projects and collaborations related to how technology can be used to reduce barriers to financial inclusion. One area of interest is helping students find avenues to finance education. Another area is testing behavioral interventions such as digital “nudges” to induce individuals to take beneficial actions such as savings or applying for aid.
Read about one of the financial health research projects the lab is working on.
Reduce Unanticipated Financial Burdens of Ticketing and Fines Among Car Owners
Utilizing an email campaign through New York City’s Department of Finance, lab researchers and ideas42 are targeting identified behavioral bottlenecks preventing at-risk ticket holders from paying their tickets in New York City. Machine learning and casual inference tools are used in randomized experiments to test whether personalized emails reduce the number of vehicles being booted, especially vehicles of those likely not able to pay increased fines.
Texts Encouraging Low-Income Students to Apply for Federal Financial Aid
Lab researchers Susan Athey, Henrike Steimer, Matt Schaelling, and Niall Keleher are working with ideas42 to examine the effects of an email and SMS program that aims to encourage community college students to maintain financial aid packages. Using administrative records, machine learning algorithms test differential impacts of the reminders on educational outcomes among different types of students.
Learn firsthand from finance researchers and practitioners associated with the lab.