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What Does Financial Literacy Training Teach Us?

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  • Bruce Ian Carlin
  • David T. Robinson

Abstract

This paper uses a quasi natural experiment to explore how financial education changes savings, investment, and consumer behavior. We use data from a Junior Achievement Finance Park to measure the effect of a financial literacy program on students who are assigned fictitious life situations and asked to create household budgets for these roles. The treatment effects of the financial literacy program are strong. Students who experienced training were somewhat better at making current-cost/current-benefit tradeoff decisions (spending more today versus spending less today). But the tendency to try to save more today often led them to make poor choices when they faced tradeoffs between current-costs and future-benefits today (i.e., when spending more today is cheaper in present value terms). Most importantly, students who had attended training showed greater up-take of decision support that was offered in the park. This indicates that decision support and financial literacy training are complements, not substitutes.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16271.

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Date of creation: Aug 2010
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Publication status: published as Bruce Ian Carlin & David T. Robinson, 2012. "What Does Financial Literacy Training Teach Us?," Journal of Economic Education, Taylor and Francis Journals, vol. 43(3), pages 235-247, July.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16271

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  1. James J. Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte C. Madrian & Andrew Metrick, 2001. "Defined Contribution Pensions: Plan Rules, Participant Decisions, and the Path of Least Resistance," NBER Working Papers 8655, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Winter, Joachim & Lührmann, Melanie & Serra Garcia, Marta, 2013. "The effects of financial literacy training: Evidence from a field experiment in German high schools," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79744, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  2. Joanne W. Hsu, 2011. "Aging and strategic learning: the impact of spousal incentives on financial literacy," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2011-53, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  3. Bruce I. Carlin & Li Jiang & Stephen A. Spiller, 2014. "Learning Millennial-Style," NBER Working Papers 20268, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Leonardo Becchetti & Fabio Pisani, 2011. "Financial education on secondary school students: the randomized experiment revisited," Econometica Working Papers wp34, Econometica.
  5. Lührmann, Melanie & Serra-Garcia, Marta & Winter, Joachim, 2012. "Teaching teenagers in finance: does it work?," Discussion Papers in Economics 14101, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  6. Singh, Ardhendu & Venkataramani, Bhama, 2012. "Financial Education: Institutes of Higher Education as delivery channels," MPRA Paper 43336, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Joanne W. Hsu, 2011. "Aging and Strategic Learning: The Impact of Spousal Incentives on Financial Literacy," NFI Working Papers 2011-WP-06, Indiana State University, Scott College of Business, Networks Financial Institute.

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