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High School Curriculum and Financial Outcomes: The Impact of Mandated Personal Finance and Mathematics Courses

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  • Shawn Cole
  • Anna Paulson
  • Gauri Kartini Shastry

Abstract

Financial literacy and cognitive capabilities are convincingly linked to the quality of financial decision-making. Yet, there is little evidence that education intended to improve financial decision-making is successful. Using plausibly exogenous variation in exposure to state-mandated personal finance and mathematics high school courses, affecting millions of students, this paper answers the question “Can high school graduation requirements impact financial outcomes?†The answer is yes, although not via traditional personal finance courses, which we find have no effect on financial outcomes. Instead, we find additional mathematics training leads to greater financial market participation, investment income, and better credit management, including fewer foreclosures.

Suggested Citation

  • Shawn Cole & Anna Paulson & Gauri Kartini Shastry, 2016. "High School Curriculum and Financial Outcomes: The Impact of Mandated Personal Finance and Mathematics Courses," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 51(3), pages 656-698.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:51:y:2016:i:3:p:656-698
    Note: DOI: doi:10.3368/jhr.51.3.0514-6390R1
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    References listed on IDEAS

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