Can Games Build Financial Capability?

Financial Entertainment: A Research Overview

by Nicholas W. Maynard, Preeti Mehta, Jonas Parker, Jeffrey Steinberg

Download eBook for Free

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 0.5 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.

Can video games increase the financial capability of millions of financially vulnerable Americans? Doorways to Dreams Fund seeks to address this question with its Financial Entertainment (FE) innovation, which leverages the power and popularity of casual video games to engage consumers in a financial education experience that links increases in financial knowledge and confidence to financial actions and real world behavior change. Following the presentation of a 5-step theory of change explicating how casual financial literacy video games can lead to improvements in financial capability, this paper presents and discusses data from FE projects conducted 2009-2012. While more rigorous research is needed, initial analysis suggest that the FE games can be successful at engaging consumers, cultivating financial self-efficacy and financial literacy, and enabling initial real-world financial action. The paper concludes with a discussion of next steps in Financial Entertainment, with a focus on how games can create sustained behavior change and ultimately allow consumers to realize positive outcomes.

The research described in this report was prepared for the Social Security Administration by the Financial Literacy Center.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Working paper series. RAND working papers are intended to share researchers' latest findings and to solicit informal peer review. They have been approved for circulation by RAND but may not have been formally edited or peer reviewed.

This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.