What do Individual Development Accounts Cost? The First Three Years at CAPTC
What do Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) cost? As a follow-up to Schreiner (2000a), this paper estimates the value of resources used in the first 33 months of an IDA program at the Community Action Project of Tulsa County (CAPTC). As a financial-cost analysis, the paper makes no attempt to measure costs that cannot be straightforwardly valued in financial terms nor to measure benefits of any kind. Subject to a standard set of caveats and qualifications, four results emerge. First, the social cost (excluding matches) of the production of a participant-month was about US $64. Second, given that IDA participants had net deposits of about US $29 per month, each dollar saved had a social cost of about US $2.20. Third, given an average match rate of about 1.5:1, IDAs produced a dollar of asset accumulation at a social cost of about US $1.50. Fourth, average costs at CAPTC were lower in the first 33 months than in the first 15 months, but they are unlikely to fall much further.