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Financial Literacy, Schooling, and Wealth Accumulation

  • Jere R. Behrman
  • Olivia S. Mitchell
  • Cindy Soo
  • David Bravo

Financial literacy and schooling attainment have been linked to household wealth accumulation. Yet prior findings may be biased due to noisy measures of financial literacy and schooling, as well as unobserved factors such as ability, intelligence, and motivation that could enhance financial literacy and schooling but also directly affect wealth accumulation. We use a new household dataset and an instrumental variables approach to isolate the causal effects of financial literacy and schooling on wealth accumulation. While financial literacy and schooling attainment are both strongly positively associated with wealth outcomes in linear regression models, our approach reveals even stronger and larger effects of financial literacy on wealth. Estimated impacts are substantial enough to suggest that investments in financial literacy could have large positive effects on household wealth accumulation.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w16452.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16452.

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Date of creation: Oct 2010
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Publication status: published as Behrman, Jere, Olivia S. Mitchell, Cindy Soo, and David Bravo. (2012). “Financial Literacy, Schooling, and Wealth Accumulation.” American Economic Review P&P. 102(3): 300–304.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16452
Note: AG
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  1. repec:feb:framed:0019 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. Armin Falk & David Huffman & Gert Wagner & Jurgen Schupp & Thomas Dohmen & Uwe Sunde, 2005. "Individual risk attitudes: New evidence from a large, representative, experimentally-validated survey," Framed Field Experiments 00140, The Field Experiments Website.
  3. John Ameriks & Andrew Caplin & John Leahy, 2002. "Wealth Accumulation and the Propensity to Plan," NBER Working Papers 8920, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Catherine Eckel & Cathleen Johnson & Claude Montmarquette, 2004. "Saving Decisions of the Working Poor: Short-and Long-Term Horizons," CIRANO Working Papers 2004s-45, CIRANO.
  5. Behrman, Jere R & Rosenzweig, Mark R & Taubman, Paul, 1994. "Endowments and the Allocation of Schooling in the Family and in the Marriage Market: The Twins Experiment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(6), pages 1131-74, December.
  6. Alberto Arenas de Mesa & David Bravo & Jere R. Behrman & Olivia S. Mitchell & Petra E. Todd, 2006. "The Chilean Pension Reform Turns 25: Lessons From the Social Protection Survey," NBER Working Papers 12401, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. David Bravo Urrutia & Olivia S. Mitchell & Petra Todd, 2007. "Learning from the Chilean Experience: The Determinants of Pension Switching," Working Papers wp266, University of Chile, Department of Economics.
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