Publication Date



Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) are a new policy instrument designed to help the poor save and accumulate assets. IDAs provide matches for savings used for home purchase, post-secondary education, or microenterprise. IDAs cannot help participants, however, if they drop out. What determines drop-out, and what can be done to help participants to stay in? Three findings emerge from an analysis of IDAs in the American Dream Demonstration. First, drop-out depends more on transaction costs and previous debt than on income. Second, program design --and match rates in particular--affect drop-out risk. Third, drop-out can be predicted with some accuracy, so IDA programs could use statistical targeting to identify candidates for special preventive attention before they drop out.

Document Type

Working Paper


Financial Inclusion


Asset Building

Original Citation

Schreiner, M., & Sherraden, M. (2002). Drop-out from Individual Development Accounts: Prediction and prevention (CSD Working Paper No. 02-2). St. Louis, MO: Washington University, Center for Social Development.


American Dream Policy Demonstration (ADD)


ADD, American Dream Demonstration, IDA, drop-out, individual development account