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Preparation for Retirement, Financial Literacy and Cognitive Resources

  • Adeline Delavande

    (RAND, Universidade Nova de Lisboa and CEP)

  • Susann Rohwedder

    (RAND)

  • Robert Willis

    (University of Michigan)

Traditional economic models assume that individuals have full information and act perfectly rationally. However, we show that there is considerable variation in financial literacy in the population and propose modeling the acquisition of financial knowledge in a human capital production framework. The model makes several predictions, notably with respect to portfolio choice. For example, it helps explain household non-participation in the stock market for some fraction of the population, and it provides guidance about the share of risky assets to hold for other types of households. Estimation of the human capital production function for financial knowledge on data from the Cognitive Economics Survey yields results that are consistent with important features of the model.

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Paper provided by University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center in its series Working Papers with number wp190.

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Length: 50 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mrr:papers:wp190
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  1. Haliassos, Michael & Bertaut, Carol C, 1995. "Why Do So Few Hold Stocks?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(432), pages 1110-29, September.
  2. Laurent E. Calvet & John Y. Campbell & Paolo Sodini, 2007. "Down or Out: Assessing the Welfare Costs of Household Investment Mistakes," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115(5), pages 707-747, October.
  3. Patrick J. Bayer & B. Douglas Bernheim & John Karl Scholz, 1996. "The Effects of Financial Education in the Workplace: Evidence from a Survey of Employers," Working Papers 96011, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  4. James Heckman & Pedro Carneiro & Flavio Cunha, 2004. "The Technology of Skill Formation," 2004 Meeting Papers 681, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  5. Yoram Ben-Porath, 1967. "The Production of Human Capital and the Life Cycle of Earnings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75, pages 352.
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