IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/fip/fedgfe/2011-53.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Aging and strategic learning: the impact of spousal incentives on financial literacy

Author

Listed:
  • Joanne W. Hsu

Abstract

American women tend to be less financially literate than men, which is consistent with a household division of labor in which men manage finances. However, women also tend to outlive their husbands, so they will eventually need to take over this task. Using a new survey of older couples, I find that women acquire financial literacy as they approach widowhood. At an estimated increase of 0.04 standard deviations per year approaching widowhood, 80 percent of women in the sample would catch up with their husbands prior to the expected onset of widowhood. These findings reflect actual increases by women and are not merely an artifact of cognitive decline among older men. The results are consistent with a model in which the household division of labor breaks down when a spouse dies: women have incentives both to delay acquiring financial knowledge and also to begin learning before widowhood. This paper represents the first empirical examination of the financial literacy of both members of couples and provides a life-cycle interpretation of the gender gap in financial literacy.

Suggested Citation

  • Joanne W. Hsu, 2011. "Aging and strategic learning: the impact of spousal incentives on financial literacy," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2011-53, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2011-53
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/feds/2011/201153/201153abs.html
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/feds/2011/201153/201153pap.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Bruce Ian Carlin & David T. Robinson, 2012. "What Does Financial Literacy Training Teach Us?," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(3), pages 235-247, July.
    2. Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas & Jonathan A. Parker, 2002. "Consumption Over the Life Cycle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(1), pages 47-89, January.
    3. Seema Jayachandran & Adriana Lleras-Muney, 2009. "Life Expectancy and Human Capital Investments: Evidence from Maternal Mortality Declines," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(1), pages 349-397.
    4. 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.
    5. Manski, Charles F. & Molinari, Francesca, 2010. "Rounding Probabilistic Expectations in Surveys," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 28(2), pages 219-231.
    6. Joni Hersch & Leslie S. Stratton, 2002. "Housework and Wages," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 37(1), pages 217-229.
    7. Azzi, Corry & Ehrenberg, Ronald G, 1975. "Household Allocation of Time and Church Attendance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(1), pages 27-56, February.
    8. Raquel Fonseca & Kathleen J. Mullen & Gema Zamarro & Julie Zissimopoulos, 2012. "What Explains the Gender Gap in Financial Literacy? The Role of Household Decision Making," Journal of Consumer Affairs, Wiley Blackwell, pages 90-106.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:joreco:v:25:y:2015:i:c:p:122-129 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Annamaria Lusardi & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2014. "The Economic Importance of Financial Literacy: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 52(1), pages 5-44, March.
    3. Agarwalla, Sobhesh Kumar & Barua, Samir K. & Jacob, Joshy & Varma, Jayanth R., 2015. "Financial Literacy among Working Young in Urban India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 101-109.
    4. Kiliyanni, Abdul Latheef & Sivaraman, Sunitha, 2016. "The perception-reality gap in financial literacy: Evidence from the most literate state in India," International Review of Economics Education, Elsevier, vol. 23(C), pages 47-64.
    5. E. Bocchialini & B. Ronchini, 2015. "I divari di genere nella financial literacy: un'indagine empirica," Economics Department Working Papers 2015-EF01, Department of Economics, Parma University (Italy).
    6. repec:spr:qualqt:v:52:y:2018:i:4:d:10.1007_s11135-017-0545-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Ute Filipiak & Yabibal M. Walle, 2015. "The Financial Literacy Gender Gap: A Question of Nature or Nurture?," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 176, Courant Research Centre PEG.
    8. repec:spr:jbecon:v:87:y:2017:i:5:d:10.1007_s11573-017-0853-9 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Paola Bongini & Luca Colombo & Malgorzata Iwanicz-Drozdowska, 2015. "Financial Literacy: Where Do We Stand?," Journal of Financial Management, Markets and Institutions, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 1, pages 3-12, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Financial literacy - United States ; Older people ; Finance; Personal;

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2011-53. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (FRB Librarian). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/frbgvus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.