IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Financial education and the debt behavior of the young

  • Brown, Meta

    (Federal Reserve Bank of New York)

  • Klaauw, Wilbert Van der

    (Federal Reserve Bank of New York)

  • Wen, Jaya

    (Yale University)

  • Zafar, Basit

    (Federal Reserve Bank of New York)

  • Grigsby, John

    (University of Chicago)

Young Americans are heavily reliant on debt and have clear financial literacy shortcomings, yet evidence on the relationship between financial education and youths’ subsequent debt behavior remains both limited and mixed. In this paper, we study the effects of exposure to financial training on debt outcomes in early adulthood among a large and representative sample of young Americans. Variation in exposure to financial training comes from statewide changes in high school graduation requirements regarding financial literacy, economics, and mathematics that were mandated in the late 1990s and 2000s. The FRBNY Consumer Credit Panel provides debt outcomes based on quarterly Equifax credit reports from 1999 to 2014. Our analysis, based on a flexible event study approach, reveals significant effects of quantitative training on debt-related outcomes of youth. We find that exposure to math and financial literacy education modestly decreases the incidence of adverse outcomes—such as delinquency and collections—and both reduces the likelihood of youth carrying non-student debt and increases reliance on student debt. All but the student debt effects tend to fade out with age. On the other hand, economic education leads to an increase in the likelihood of adverse debt outcomes, and, relatedly, to a decline in youths’ average risk scores. The effects are observed to accumulate as the borrower ages. Our results suggest that financial education programs, increasingly promoted by policymakers, do have significant impacts on the financial decision-making of youth, but their impacts may depend on the content of the programs.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: https://www.newyorkfed.org/medialibrary/media/research/staff_reports/sr634.html
Download Restriction: no

File URL: https://www.newyorkfed.org/medialibrary/media/research/staff_reports/sr634.pdf
File Function: Full text
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of New York in its series Staff Reports with number 634.

as
in new window

Length: 61 pages
Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision: 01 Sep 2015
Handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:634
Contact details of provider: Postal:
33 Liberty Street, New York, NY 10045-0001

Web page: http://www.newyorkfed.org/
Email:


More information through EDIRC

Order Information: Web: http://www.ny.frb.org/rmaghome/staff_rp/ Email:


References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Laurent E. Calvet & John Y. Campbell & Paolo Sodini, 2006. "Down or Out: Assessing the Welfare Costs of Household Investment Mistakes," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2107, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  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. Juanna Schrøter Joensen & Helena Skyt Nielsen, 2006. "Is there a Causal Effect of High School Math on Labor Market Outcomes?," Economics Working Papers 2006-11, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.
  4. 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.
  5. repec:pri:indrel:dsp01j3860693b is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Jappelli, Tullio & Padula, Mario, 2011. "Investment in Financial Literacy and Saving Decisions," CEPR Discussion Papers 8220, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Laibson, David I. & Agarwal, Sumit & Driscoll, John C. & Gabaix, Xavier, 2009. "The Age of Reason: Financial Decisions over the Life-Cycle with Implications for Regulation," Scholarly Articles 4554335, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  8. Atif R. Mian & Amir Sufi, 2009. "House Prices, Home Equity-Based Borrowing, and the U.S. Household Leverage Crisis," NBER Working Papers 15283, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Daniel J. Benjamin & Sebastian A. Brown & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2006. "Who is “Behavioral”? Cognitive Ability and Anomalous Preferences," Levine's Working Paper Archive 122247000000001334, David K. Levine.
  10. James P. Smith & John J. McArdle & Robert Willis, 2010. "Financial Decision Making and Cognition in a Family Context," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(548), pages F363-F380, November.
  11. Laurent-Emmanuel Calvet & John Y. Campbell & Paolo Sodini, 2009. "Measuring the Financial Sophistication of Households," Post-Print hal-00459687, HAL.
  12. Blinder, Alan S. & Krueger, Alan B., 2004. "What Does the Public Know about Economic Policy, and How Does It Know It?," IZA Discussion Papers 1324, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. Patrick J. Bayer & B. Douglas Bernheim & John Karl Scholz, 2009. "The Effects Of Financial Education In The Workplace: Evidence From A Survey Of Employers," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 47(4), pages 605-624, October.
  14. repec:pri:cepsud:99blinderkrueger is not listed on IDEAS
  15. James Banks & Zoe Oldfield, 2007. "Understanding Pensions: Cognitive Function, Numerical Ability and Retirement Saving," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 28(2), pages 143-170, 06.
  16. Goodman, Joshua Samuel, 2012. "The Labor of Division: Returns to Compulsory Math Coursework," Scholarly Articles 9403178, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
  17. Scott Fay & Erik Hurst & Michelle J. White, 2002. "The Household Bankruptcy Decision," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(3), pages 706-718, June.
  18. Bernheim, B. Douglas & Garrett, Daniel M. & Maki, Dean M., 2001. "Education and saving:: The long-term effects of high school financial curriculum mandates," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(3), pages 435-465, June.
  19. 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.
  20. Joseph P. Romano & Azeem M. Shaikh & Michael Wolf, 2009. "Hypothesis testing in econometrics," IEW - Working Papers 444, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  21. Justine S. Hastings & Brigitte C. Madrian & William L. Skimmyhorn, 2013. "Financial Literacy, Financial Education, and Economic Outcomes," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 5(1), pages 347-373, 05.
  22. Melvin Stephens, Jr. & Dou-Yan Yang, 2013. "Compulsory Education and the Benefits of Schooling," NBER Working Papers 19369, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Heather Rose & Julian R. Betts, 2004. "The Effect of High School Courses on Earnings," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(2), pages 497-513, May.
  24. James Banks & Cormac O'Dea & Zoë Oldfield, 2010. "Cognitive Function, Numeracy and Retirement Saving Trajectories," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(548), pages F381-F410, November.
  25. Alan S. Blinder & Alan B. Krueger, 2004. "What Does the Public Know about Economic Policy, and How Does It Know It?," Working Papers 875, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  26. Brown, Meta & Haughwout, Andrew F. & Lee, Donghoon & Van der Klaauw, Wilbert, 2011. "Do we know what we owe? A comparison of borrower- and lender-reported consumer debt," Staff Reports 523, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, revised 01 Oct 2013.
  27. Joseph G. Altonji & Erica Blom & Costas Meghir, 2012. "Heterogeneity in Human Capital Investments: High School Curriculum, College Major, and Careers," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 4(1), pages 185-223, 07.
  28. Victor Stango & Jonathan Zinman, 2009. "Exponential Growth Bias and Household Finance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 64(6), pages 2807-2849, December.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:634. 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: (Amy Farber)

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.