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Resources Used to Produce Individual Development Accounts in the First Two Years of the Experimental Program of the American Dream Demonstration at the Community Action Project of Tulsa County


  • Mark Schreiner

    (Washington University in St. Louis)


This paper describes an attempt to measure resources used to produce Individual Development Accounts in a program run by the Community Action Project of Tulsa County. The experimental design of the program-- participants were selected from applicants at random--aims to inform the overall evaluation in the American Dream Demonstration of whether IDAs are likely to achieve their intended purposes cost-effectively. Financial benefit-cost analysis is a key part of this evaluation, and the estimates of resource use in this paper are key inputs to the financial benefit-cost analysis. Financial costs are estimated from the points of view of seven groups of stakeholders: IDA participants, non- participants, the federal government, state and local government, the employees of IDA programs, private donors, and society as a whole. This paper documents estimates of cost from the point of view of society as a whole (about $53,000 for 1998 and about $135,000 for 1999) and acts as template to guide cost-measurement for the rest of the years of the project. Resources consumed (costs) by the experimental program are taken as the stock of resources at the start of the year, minus the stock of resources at the end of the year, minus resource inflows during the year. There is no attempt to measure costs that cannot be valued in financial terms nor to measure benefits of any kind. Thus, this paper is not a financial benefit-cost analysis. Subject to a plethora of caveats, qualifications, and assumptions, the broad result derived here that participation in the experimental program cost society about $125 per participant-month.

Suggested Citation

  • Mark Schreiner, 2001. "Resources Used to Produce Individual Development Accounts in the First Two Years of the Experimental Program of the American Dream Demonstration at the Community Action Project of Tulsa County," Finance 0108003, EconWPA, revised 27 Dec 2001.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpfi:0108003
    Note: Type of Document - Adobe Acrobat 3.0; prepared on Windows 98; to print on Adobe Acrobat 3.0; pages: 65 ; figures: Included in pdf file

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Mark Schreiner & Jacob Yaron, 2001. "Development Finance Institutions : Measuring Their Subsidy," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 13983, January.
    2. Yaron, J., 1992. "Assessing Development Finance Institutions; A Public Interest Analysis," World Bank - Discussion Papers 174, World Bank.
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    Cited by:

    1. Mark Schreiner, 2001. "Microenterprise in the First and Third Worlds," Development and Comp Systems 0108001, EconWPA, revised 27 Dec 2001.

    More about this item


    cost; Individual Development Accounts; not-for-profit management; welfare reform; savings incentives;

    JEL classification:

    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • L3 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise
    • H43 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Project Evaluation; Social Discount Rate

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