*Names in bold indicate Presenter
This study examines the following two questions: (1) How do low-income households plan to cope with financial emergencies? (2) Are low-income households with emergency savings less likely to experience economic hardship (e.g. lack of money for food or basic needs, telephone disconnection, utility shut-off, repossession)? The study uses data from the Making Connections project, a longitudinal survey of households in disadvantaged neighborhoods in seven U.S. cities. Data collection took place in 3 waves between 2002 and 2011. A final sample of 2,381 households who were in all waves is used for the analysis. This unique dataset includes information on income, assets, debts and economic hardships, as well as rich data on neighborhood characteristics including local amenities such as financial institutions. An instrumental variable approach is used as a robustness check for unobserved variables that may be related to both the ability to acquire emergency savings and experiences of economic hardship. Distance to a financial institution is the instrument used to predict emergency savings. Further research is needed to examine the relationship between emergency savings and access to other forms of liquidity when faced with a financial emergency. In addition, research is needed on interventions that support the development of emergency savings among low-income households.