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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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    1. Dimitris Christelis & Tullio Jappelli & Mario Padula, 2008. "Cognitive Abilities and Portfolio Choice," Working Papers 2008_19, Department of Economics, University of Venice "Ca' Foscari".
    2. Annamaria Lusardi & Peter Tufano, 2009. "Debt Literacy, Financial Experiences, and Overindebtedness," NBER Working Papers 14808, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. 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).
    4. Annamaria Lusardi & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2011. "Financial Literacy and Retirement Planning in the United States," CeRP Working Papers 107, Center for Research on Pensions and Welfare Policies, Turin (Italy).
    5. Sumit Agarwal & John C Driscoll & Xavier Gabaix & David Laibson, 2007. "The Age of Reason: Financial Decisions Over the Lifecycle," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000001752, UCLA Department of Economics.
    6. Annamaria Lusardi & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2011. "Financial Literacy around the World: An Overview," NBER Working Papers 17107, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. 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.
    8. M.C.J. van Rooij & Annamaria Lusardi & R. Alessie, 2007. "Financial Literacy and Stock Market Participation," Working Papers 07-23, Utrecht School of Economics.
    9. 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.
    10. 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.
    11. 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).
    12. Mitchell, Olivia S. & Lusardi, Annamaria (ed.), 2011. "Financial Literacy: Implications for Retirement Security and the Financial Marketplace," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199696819, September.
    13. Klapper, Leora & Panos, Georgios A., 2011. "Financial literacy and retirement planning: the Russian case," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(04), pages 599-618, October.
    14. James Banks & Zoe Oldfield, 2007. "Understanding Pensions: Cognitive Function, Numerical Ability and Retirement Saving," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 28(2), pages 143-170, 06.
    15. Almenberg, Johan & Gerdes, Christer, 2011. "Exponential Growth Bias and Financial Literacy," IZA Discussion Papers 5814, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    16. 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.
    17. Lusardi, Annamaria & Mitchell, Olivia S., 2010. "How ordinary consumers make complex economic decisions: Financial literacy and retirement readiness," CFS Working Paper Series 2010/11, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
    18. 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.
    19. Victor Stango & Jonathan Zinman, 2009. "Exponential Growth Bias and Household Finance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 64(6), pages 2807-2849, December.
    20. 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.
    21. Annamaria Lusardi, 2011. "Americans' Financial Capability," NBER Working Papers 17103, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    22. 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.
    23. Lusardi, Annamaria & Tufano, Peter, 2009. "Debt literacy, financial experiences, and overindebtedness," CFS Working Paper Series 2009/08, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
    24. 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).
    25. 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.
    26. 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.
    27. Shizuka Sekita, 2011. "Financial Literacy and Retirement Planning in Japan," CeRP Working Papers 108, Center for Research on Pensions and Welfare Policies, Turin (Italy).
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    Cited by:
    1. Mikhed, Vyacheslav & Scholnick, Barry, 2014. "Financial benefits, travel costs, and bankruptcy," Working Papers 14-18, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    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. 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.

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