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Testing a Measurement Model of Financial Capability Among Youth in Ghana




  • Mathieu R. Despard ( is Clinical Associate Professor and doctoral student in the School of Social Work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Gina A. N. Chowa ( is an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Faculty Associate at the Center for Social Development at Washington University in St. Louis. This research was supported by a grant from the MasterCard Foundation.


Youth may benefit from having enhanced financial knowledge and skills and access to financial services to help them navigate transitions to adulthood, though reliable and valid measures of youth financial capability to help assess financial education and inclusion intervention outcomes are lacking. Using survey responses from 5,451 youth ages 12–18 in Ghana, we used exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis to assess 18 survey items concerning youth financial behavior and understanding and attitudes concerning financial services. A 12-item, group invariant scale (α = .72) with three latent factors was retained in a well-fitting model that may help practitioners assess financial education and inclusion outcomes. We found that six items were poor indicators of youth financial capability, possibly because these items measure other constructs like numeracy, or because these items were not sufficiently assessed for developmental and cultural validity using qualitative methods like cognitive interviewing.