Family Assets, Parental Expectations, and Children Educational Performance: An Empirical Examination From China

Publication Date



The literature suggests that asset building for children not only encourages families to financially prepare for children's long-term development, but also affects non-financial outcomes of parents' and children's attitude and behaviors (e.g., parental educational expectations, children's educational achievement). The study used the data (N = 3663) from the 2014 China Family Panel Studies (CFPS) to examine the associations among family savings for children's education, parental educational expectations, and children's educational achievement in the cultural and societal context of China. We applied the Structural Equations Modeling (SEM) analyses, and found that family savings for children's education was positively associated with children's educational achievement indicated by parent-reported academic performance on math and Chinese language. The association of children's educational achievement with family savings for children's education is stronger than those with family income, homeownership, and funds in checking accounts. Parental educational expectations are a partial mediator between family savings for children's education and their educational achievement, explaining about half of the association between these two variables. Findings suggest asset-based programs for children, such as Child Development Accounts (CDAs), can be an important policy strategy to promote children's educational development in China, particularly for those with disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds.

Document Type



Financial Inclusion


Asset Building

Original Citation

Fang, S., Huang, J., Curley, J., & Birkenmaier, J. (2018). Family assets, parental expectations, and children educational performance: An empirical examination from China. Children and Youth Services Review, 87, 60–68. doi:10.1016/j.childyouth.2018.02.018


Global Assets Project


asset building, assets, CDA, child development account, academic expectation, academic achievement, China, educational expectations, educational outcomes, family, policy, policy design, savings, saving