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Banks Information Policies, Financial Literacy and Household Wealth

Author

Listed:
  • Fort, Margherita

    () (University of Bologna)

  • Manaresi, Francesco

    () (Bank of Italy)

  • Trucchi, Serena

    () (University of Bologna)

Abstract

We investigate the causal effect of financial literacy on financial assets, exploiting banks information policies for identification. In Italy, banks who belong to the PattiChiari consortium have implemented policies aimed at increasing transparency and procedural simplification. These policies may affect individuals' financial literacy without involving any direct cost for clients in terms of time, effort or resources, as we show in the paper. We exploit confidential information on whether individuals have their main bank account in one bank in the PattiChiari consortium to instrument their financial literacy level. We show that these policies have a positive and significant effect on both knowledge of financial instruments and household financial assets. Our results suggest that banks information policies have the potential to be an effective tool to increase individuals' financial literacy and that the relationship between financial literacy and wealth is largely underestimated by standard regression models.

Suggested Citation

  • Fort, Margherita & Manaresi, Francesco & Trucchi, Serena, 2012. "Banks Information Policies, Financial Literacy and Household Wealth," IZA Discussion Papers 6989, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6989
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    Cited by:

    1. Lorenzo Corsini & Luca Spataro, 2015. "Optimal Decisions on Pension Plans in the Presence of Information Costs and Financial Literacy," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 17(3), pages 383-414, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    instrumental variables; wealth; financial literacy;

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions

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