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Numeracy, financial literacy, and financial decision-making

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  • Annamaria Lusardi
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    Abstract

    Financial decisions, be they related to asset building or debt management, require the capacity to do calculations, including some complex ones. But how numerate are individuals, in particular when it comes to calculations related to financial decisions? Studies and surveys implemented in both the United States and in other countries that are described in this paper show the level of numeracy among the population to be very low. Moreover, lack of numeracy is not only widespread but is particularly severe among some demographic groups, such as women, the elderly, and those with low educational attainment. This has potential consequences for individuals and for society as a whole because numeracy is found to be linked to many financial decisions. Now more than ever, numeracy and financial literacy are lifetime skills necessary to succeed in today’s complex economic environment.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17821.

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    Date of creation: Feb 2012
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    Publication status: published as “Numeracy, Financial Literacy, and Financial Decision-Making,” in Numeracy, 5(1), Article 2, January 2012. [Winner of the inaugural Steen Award]
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17821

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    References

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    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.:
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    1. Xavier Gabaix & John C. Driscoll & David Laibson & Sumit Agarwal, 2008. "The Age of Reason: Financial Decisions Over the Lifecycle," 2008 Meeting Papers 322, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    2. Annamaria Lusardi & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2009. "How Ordinary Consumers Make Complex Economic Decisions: Financial Literacy and Retirement Readiness," NBER Working Papers 15350, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Lusardi, Annamaria & Mitchell, Olivia S., 2011. "Financial literacy around the world: an overview," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(04), pages 497-508, October.
    4. van Rooij, Maarten & Lusardi, Annamaria & Alessie, Rob J. M., 2007. "Financial literacy and stock market participation," CFS Working Paper Series 2007/27, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
    5. Victor Stango & Jonathan Zinman, 2009. "Exponential Growth Bias and Household Finance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 64(6), pages 2807-2849, December.
    6. Lusardi, Annamaria & Mitchell, Olivia S., 2011. "Financial literacy and retirement planning in the United States," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(04), pages 509-525, October.
    7. Johan Almenberg & Jenny Säve-Söderbergh, 2011. "Financial Literacy and Retirement Planning in Sweden," CeRP Working Papers 112, Center for Research on Pensions and Welfare Policies, Turin (Italy).
    8. Almenberg, Johan & Säve-Söderbergh, Jenny, 2011. "Financial literacy and retirement planning in Sweden," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(04), pages 585-598, October.
    9. Klapper, Leora & Panos, Georgios A., 2011. "Financial literacy and retirement planning : the Russian case," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5827, The World Bank.
    10. Dimitrios Christelis & Tullio Jappelli & Mario Padula, 2006. "Cognitive Abilities and Portfolio Choice," CSEF Working Papers 157, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
    11. Annamaria Lusardi & Peter Tufano, 2009. "Debt Literacy, Financial Experiences, and Overindebtedness," NBER Working Papers 14808, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. James Banks & Zoë Oldfield, 2006. "Understanding pensions: cognitive function, numerical ability and retirement saving," IFS Working Papers W06/05, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    13. Justine S. Hastings & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2011. "How Financial Literacy and Impatience Shape Retirement Wealth and Investment Behaviors," NBER Working Papers 16740, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Almenberg, Johan & Dreber, Anna, 2011. "Gender, Stock Market Participation and Financial Literacy," Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 737, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 16 Aug 2011.
    15. Frank P. Stafford & Ngina S. Chiteji, 1999. "Portfolio Choices of Parents and Their Children as Young Adults: Asset Accumulation by African-American Families," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 377-380, May.
    16. Annamaria Lusardi & Peter Tufano, 2009. "Debt Literacy, Financial Experiences, and Overindebtedness," CeRP Working Papers 83, Center for Research on Pensions and Welfare Policies, Turin (Italy).
    17. Annamaria Lusardi, 2011. "Americans' Financial Capability," NBER Working Papers 17103, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Justine S. Hastings & Lydia Tejeda-Ashton, 2008. "Financial Literacy, Information, and Demand Elasticity: Survey and Experimental Evidence from Mexico," NBER Working Papers 14538, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Richard Disney & John Gathergood, . "Financial Literacy ad Indebtedness: New Evidence for UK Consumers," Discussion Papers 11/05, University of Nottingham, Centre for Finance, Credit and Macroeconomics (CFCM).
    20. Shizuka Sekita, 2011. "Financial Literacy and Retirement Planning in Japan," CeRP Working Papers 108, Center for Research on Pensions and Welfare Policies, Turin (Italy).
    21. Kristopher Gerardi & Lorenz Goette & Stephan Meier, 2010. "Financial literacy and subprime mortgage delinquency: evidence from a survey matched to administrative data," Working Paper 2010-10, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    22. Haipeng (Allan) Chen & Akshay R. Rao, 2007. "When Two Plus Two Is Not Equal to Four: Errors in Processing Multiple Percentage Changes," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 34(3), pages 327-340, 06.
    23. Lusardi, Annamaria & Tufano, Peter, 2009. "Debt literacy, financial experiences, and overindebtedness," CFS Working Paper Series 2009/08, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
    24. Sekita, Shizuka, 2011. "Financial literacy and retirement planning in Japan," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(04), pages 637-656, October.
    25. Mitchell, Olivia S. & Lusardi, Annamaria (ed.), 2011. "Financial Literacy: Implications for Retirement Security and the Financial Marketplace," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199696819, Octomber.
    26. Almenberg, Johan & Gerdes, Christer, 2011. "Exponential Growth Bias and Financial Literacy," IZA Discussion Papers 5814, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    27. Alessie, Rob & Van Rooij, Maarten & Lusardi, Annamaria, 2011. "Financial literacy and retirement preparation in the Netherlands," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(04), pages 527-545, October.
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    Cited by:
    1. Annamaria Lusardi & Anya Savikhin Samek & Arie Kapteyn & Lewis Glinert & Angela Hung & Aileen Heinberg, 2014. "Visual Tools and Narratives: New Ways to Improve Financial Literacy," NBER Working Papers 20229, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Sundar, B. & Virmani, Vineet, . "Numeracy and Financial Literacy of Forest Dependent Communities Evidence from Andhra Pradesh," IIMA Working Papers WP2013-09-02, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, Research and Publication Department.
    3. Mikhed, Vyacheslav & Scholnick, Barry, 2014. "Financial benefits, travel costs, and bankruptcy," Working Papers 14-18, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.

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