Aging and strategic learning: the impact of spousal incentives on financial literacy
AbstractAmerican women tend to be less financially literate than men, which is consistent with a household division of labor in which men manage finances. However, women also tend to outlive their husbands, so they will eventually need to take over this task. Using a new survey of older couples, I find that women acquire financial literacy as they approach widowhood. At an estimated increase of 0.04 standard deviations per year approaching widowhood, 80 percent of women in the sample would catch up with their husbands prior to the expected onset of widowhood. These findings reflect actual increases by women and are not merely an artifact of cognitive decline among older men. The results are consistent with a model in which the household division of labor breaks down when a spouse dies: women have incentives both to delay acquiring financial knowledge and also to begin learning before widowhood. This paper represents the first empirical examination of the financial literacy of both members of couples and provides a life-cycle interpretation of the gender gap in financial literacy.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series Finance and Economics Discussion Series with number 2011-53.
Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-AGE-2011-12-19 (Economics of Ageing)
- NEP-ALL-2011-12-19 (All new papers)
- NEP-LAB-2011-12-19 (Labour Economics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- repec:att:wimass:9722 is not listed on IDEAS
- Bruce Ian Carlin & David T. Robinson, 2010.
"What Does Financial Literacy Training Teach Us?,"
NBER Working Papers
16271, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Joni Hersch & Leslie S. Stratton, 2002. "Housework and Wages," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 37(1), pages 217-229.
- Raquel Fonseca & Kathleen Mullen & Gema Zamarro & Julie Zissimopoulos, 2009.
"What Explains the Gender Gap in Financial Literacy? The Role of Household Decision-Making,"
762, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
- Raquel Fonseca & Kathleen J. Mullen & Gema Zamarro & Julie Zissimopoulos, 2012. "What Explains the Gender Gap in Financial Literacy? The Role of Household Decision Making," Journal of Consumer Affairs, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(1), pages 90-106, 03.
- Adeline Delavande & Susann Rohwedder & Robert Willis, 2008. "Preparation for Retirement, Financial Literacy and Cognitive Resources," Working Papers wp190, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
- Seema Jayachandran & Adriana Lleras-Muney, 2008. "Life Expectancy and Human Capital Investments: Evidence From Maternal Mortality Declines," NBER Working Papers 13947, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas & Jonathan A. Parker, 1999.
"Consumption Over the Life Cycle,"
NBER Working Papers
7271, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Manski, Charles F. & Molinari, Francesca, 2010. "Rounding Probabilistic Expectations in Surveys," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 28(2), pages 219-231.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Kris Vajs) The email address of this maintainer does not seem to be valid anymore. Please ask Kris Vajs to update the entry or send us the correct address.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.