» Posts tagged: ‘money

UntitledChildren, the university and the financial industry: these may seem awkward partners, yet nothing is less true at Erasmus University Rotterdam. In this and subsequent posts I will look at what is happening at Erasmus University Rotterdam and why this matters.

The Dutch ‘asset manager’ ROBECO is one of the partners of Erasmus University Rotterdam’s ‘scientific junction’ programme (in Dutch: ‘wetenschapsknooppunt‘). Through this programme, Erasmus University Rotterdam offers a range of activities to Dutch primary school students (and their teachers) with the aim of introducing them to science, research and the university. This includes bringing children to the university for specifically designed ‘children’s lectures’, researchers visiting primary schools, short scientific courses designed for primary school students, etc.

Children are part of a world that is increasingly financialising, and Dutch children are no exception. Children may also be seen as a perpetual demographic frontier of financial markets. In this sense the young are an important strategic terrain for both the reproduction and also expansion of financial markets. Hence, one should not be surprised to find that the financial industry has indeed a keen interest in reaching children (as also noted HERE).

What is happening here goes yet a step further. By cooperating with a publicly funded university in the name of science, ROBECO gains a degree of legitimacy for its financial practices precisely in a time the very system of which investment banking is an outcome and the very ethics and sustainability of such financial practices have come increasingly into question.

posted by Roy Huijsmans



Children & Money

Category: policy| Uncategorized

11 Mar 2014

imagesThis week (10-17 March) is declared ‘Global Money Week‘ by the organisation ‘Child and Youth Finance International‘.

The organisation claims that about 3 million children and over 400 organisations in more than 100 countries will get involved in a range of activities and programmes related to the ‘Global Money Week’, all with the aim of:

empowering young people and getting them involved to reshape finance and their own future

In the Netherlands, the week is linked to a Dutch Ministry of Finance stimulated public-partnership called ‘More knowledgeable about money’ (Wijzer in geldzaken) which includes the component ‘financial education‘ for children.

Why this concern about children and money?

A research report (2013) by the Dutch National Institute for Family Finance Information found that 45% of the 5-year olds in the Netherlands receive pocket money (0,50 Euro per week on average) and 84% of the 11 and 12 year olds (2-3Euro per week). 45% of the surveyed children (all of primary school age; 5-12 year old) would occasionally do tasks for money (such as gardening, tidying, washing cars, etc). 91% of the children receive money through ways other than work or pocket money (e.g. as gifts on particular occasions). 47% of the children have a bank account in their own name and out of these children 45% have their own bank card.

These figures suggests that money takes an important presence in the lives of Dutch primary school children and that they are already engaged in a range of financial institutions and transactions. In that light, a focus on financial education may indeed be appropriated.

However, such figures tell only part of the story. A further story is told by taking a look at the ‘partners‘ behind the Dutch part of the ‘money week’. The presence of banks and insurance companies is striking. The story behind Child and Youth Finance International appears similar. Although they keep their ‘partners and stakeholders‘ elusively hidden behind a search bar, punching in the search term ‘bank’ yields indeed numerous hits. Furthermore, the Citi Foundation is of its main partners and seems to have a considerable influence on the work of Child and Youth Finance International. This evident from the idea of ‘financial inclusion’, which features prominently on the Citi Foundation webpage, and is also embraced as a central principle by Child and Youth Finance International. The latter uses the following definition of financial inclusion in one of their research publications (Sherraden, M. S. and D. Ansong (2013). Conceptual Development of the CYFI Model of Children and Youth as Economic Citizens. St. Louis, MO, Washington University, Center for Social Development (CSD)):

‘a state in which all people who can use them have access to a suite of quality financial services, provided at affordable prices, in a convenient manner, and with dignity for the clients’ (p8)

It continues to elaborate that ‘at a minimum, this includes saving, credit, insurance and payments to facilitate economic transactions, manage day-to-day resources, improve quality of life, protect against vulnerability, make productivity-enhancing investments, leverage assets, and build economic citizenship‘.

Financial inclusion appears, for a good part, to be about bringing children into the realm of financial institutions such as banks and insurance companies. Indeed, the above quoted research report talks in this vain about ‘unbanked populations’ and identifies young people as an important segment of the ‘unbanked’.

The Global Money Week, thus, seems to be as much a response to a reality in which money indeed takes an important presence in many children’s lives as it is a form of capitalist expansion turning yet unbanked children into a banked population in the name of financial inclusion.

posted by Roy Huijsmans


Children & Money

Category: Uncategorized

22 Aug 2013

downloadNIBUD reports on a study about money among Dutch primary school children and finds, to its ‘surprise’, that nearly half the children in the age 5 cohort receive pocket money.

NIBUD, the Dutch National Institute for Family Finance Information, just (August 2013) released a report entitled Nibud Kinderonderzoek: Onderzoek naar basisschool leerlingen en hun geldzaken (Nibud Children’s Study: Study of primary school students and their financial affairs). The title is somewhat misleading; no children’s were interviewed for the research. The findings are based on interviews with parents about financial affairs concerning their children aged 5-12 years (n=1622).

The report covers various dimenions, including ‘pocket money’, ‘other sources of income’, ‘children’s banking practices’, ‘spending behaviour’, ‘saving’, ‘children’s awareness of the value of money’, and ‘dealing with money’. Yet, the Dutch press picked on one particular finding: 45% of the surveyed children in the 5 years cohort receive pocket money. In a context in which the giving of ‘pocket money’ to children is generally seen as ‘good’, this particular finding is seen as ‘surprising’ and perhaps even worrisome. In fact, Nibud which is a strong advocate of giving children pocket money on a structural and regular basis notes in its press release that it is ‘surprised’ by this finding as it advises parents to start giving children pocket money only when they are ‘around six years of age’, because by that time they will also have learnt about money and counting in school.

The Table below presents the report’s findings about children’s pocket money. It shows that receiving pocket money is a majority experience for children in the Netherlands and that this is often given on a structural and regular basis. Interestingly, the share of those receiving pocket money on an incidental basis is highest in both the youngest (5 years) and older (9 and above) cohorts. Also, this table illustrates that, perhaps, the Dutch public is in for more surprises. Parents were not asked about children aged 4 or younger so whether the very young also receive pocket money remains an open question.

Lastly, this report is the first time Nibud presents a study on children and money covering the full (Dutch) primary school age-range (5-12 years). Interestingly, despite its claim that its activities are solely funded by the Dutch government (30%) and through income generated through Nibud products and services (70%), this particularly study is financed by the bank ING (p14).



posted by Roy Huijsmans


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