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Consumption Growth, the Interest Rate, and Financial Literacy

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Abstract

We study a model in which financial sophistication improves portfolio returns and therefore the incentive to substitute consumption intertemporally. The model delivers an Euler equation in which consumption growth is positively correlated with financial sophistication. We test the model's prediction using panel data on consumption and financial literacy from the Italian Survey of Household Income and Wealth (SHIW), and an appropriate instrumental variable procedure. We find that consumption growth is positively correlated with financial literacy. Under plausible assumptions, we provide estimates of the intertemporal elasticity of substitution that are in line with previous literature (between 0.2 and 0.4). We complement our results with direct evidence on the link between financial literacy and the return to saving.

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Paper provided by Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy in its series CSEF Working Papers with number 329.

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Date of creation: 22 Feb 2013
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Handle: RePEc:sef:csefwp:329

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Keywords: Consumption Growth; Euler Equation; Financial Literacy;

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  1. Stephen Zeldes, . "Consumption and Liquidity Constraints: An Empirical Investigation," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 24-85, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
  2. Charlotte Christiansen & Juanna Schröter Joensen & Jesper Rangvid, 2007. "Are Economists More Likely to Hold Stocks?," CREATES Research Papers 2007-08, School of Economics and Management, University of Aarhus.
  3. Jere R. Behrman & Olivia S. Mitchell & Cindy Soo & David Bravo, 2010. "Financial Literacy, Schooling, and Wealth Accumulation," NBER Working Papers 16452, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Lei Feng & Mark Seasholes, 2005. "Do Investor Sophistication and Trading Experience Eliminate Behavioral Biases in Financial Markets?," Review of Finance, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 305-351, 09.
  5. Tullio Jappelli & Mario Padula, 2011. "Investment in Financial Literacy and Saving Decisions," CSEF Working Papers 272, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  6. Annamaria Lusardi & Pierre-Carl Michaud & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2013. "Optimal Financial Knowledge and Wealth Inequality," NBER Working Papers 18669, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. 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.
  8. Hall, Robert E, 1978. "Stochastic Implications of the Life Cycle-Permanent Income Hypothesis: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(6), pages 971-87, December.
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