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Keeping It Simple: Financial Literacy and Rules of Thumb

Author

Listed:
  • Alejandro Drexler
  • Greg Fischer
  • Antoinette Schoar

Abstract

Micro-entrepreneurs often lack the financial literacy required to make important financial decisions. We conducted a randomized evaluation with a bank in the Dominican Republic to compare the impact of two distinct programs: standard accounting training versus a simplified, rule-of-thumb training that taught basic financial heuristics. The rule-of-thumb training significantly improved firms' financial practices, objective reporting quality, and revenues. For micro-entrepreneurs with lower skills or poor initial financial practices, the impact of the rule-of-thumb training was significantly larger than that of the standard accounting training, suggesting that simplifying training programs might improve their effectiveness for less sophisticated individuals.

Suggested Citation

  • Alejandro Drexler & Greg Fischer & Antoinette Schoar, 2014. "Keeping It Simple: Financial Literacy and Rules of Thumb," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(2), pages 1-31, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:6:y:2014:i:2:p:1-31
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.6.2.1
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lars Ivar Oppedal Berge & Kjetil Bjorvatn & Kartika Sari Juniwaty & Bertil Tungodden, 2012. "Business Training in Tanzania: From Research-driven Experiment to Local Implementation-super- †," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 21(5), pages -827, November.
    2. Bernheim, B. Douglas & Garrett, Daniel M., 2003. "The effects of financial education in the workplace: evidence from a survey of households," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(7-8), pages 1487-1519, August.
    3. Shawn Cole & Anna Paulson & Gauri Kartini Shastry, 2014. "Smart Money? The Effect of Education on Financial Outcomes," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 27(7), pages 2022-2051.
    4. Miriam Bruhn & Bilal Zia, 2013. "Stimulating managerial capital in emerging markets: the impact of business training for young entrepreneurs," Journal of Development Effectiveness, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(2), pages 232-266, June.
    5. Eric P. Bettinger & Bridget Terry Long & Philip Oreopoulos & Lisa Sanbonmatsu, 2012. "The Role of Application Assistance and Information in College Decisions: Results from the H&R Block Fafsa Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 127(3), pages 1205-1242.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D04 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Policy: Formulation; Implementation; Evaluation
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • L24 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Contracting Out; Joint Ventures
    • L25 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Performance
    • L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship
    • M41 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Accounting - - - Accounting
    • O16 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance

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