The impacts of mandatory financial education: Evidence from a randomized field study
Financial education is commonly assumed to affect knowledge and behavior, yet its impacts remain relatively untested. Very low-income families in a subsidized housing program were randomly assigned to a mandatory financial education program and tracked for 12 months. Financial education led to improvements in self-reported behaviors, but no measurable effects on savings or credit, except for participants in education expanding their use of credit, albeit with no evidence of problems in the study period. This study also illustrates the methodological issues that arise in social experiments with small samples, including non-compliance, attrition and self-report bias.
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