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Financial Literacy, Financial Education and Economic Outcomes

  • Justine S. Hastings
  • Brigitte C. Madrian
  • William L. Skimmyhorn

In this article we review the literature on financial literacy, financial education, and consumer financial outcomes. We consider how financial literacy is measured in the current literature, and examine how well the existing literature addresses whether financial education improves financial literacy or personal financial outcomes. We discuss the extent to which a competitive market provides incentives for firms to educate consumers or offer products that facilitate informed choice. We review the literature on alternative policies to improve financial outcomes, and compare the evidence to evidence on the efficacy and cost of financial education. Finally, we discuss directions for future research.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18412.

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Date of creation: Sep 2012
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as 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.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18412
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  1. Laurent E. Calvet & John Y. Campbell & Paolo Sodini, 2009. "Measuring the Financial Sophistication of Households," NBER Working Papers 14699, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Amromin, Gene & Huang, Jennifer & Sialm, Clemens, 2007. "The tradeoff between mortgage prepayments and tax-deferred retirement savings," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(10), pages 2014-2040, November.
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  5. Borghans, Lex & Duckworth, Angela Lee & Heckman, James J. & ter Weel, Bas, 2008. "The Economics and Psychology of Personality Traits," IZA Discussion Papers 3333, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. John Y. Campbell & Stefano Giglio & Parag Pathak, 2011. "Forced Sales and House Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 2108-31, August.
  7. Che, Yeon-Koo & Dessein, Wouter & Kartik, Navin, 2010. "Pandering to Persuade," CEPR Discussion Papers 7970, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Dimitris Christelis & Tullio Jappelli & Mario Padula, 2008. "Cognitive Abilities and Portfolio Choice," Working Papers 2008_19, Department of Economics, University of Venice "Ca' Foscari".
  9. Carpena, Fenella & Cole, Shawn & Shapiro, Jeremy & Zia, Bilal, 2011. "Unpacking the causal chain of financial literacy," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5798, The World Bank.
  10. John Ameriks & Andrew Caplin & John Leahy, 2002. "Wealth Accumulation and the Propensity to Plan," NBER Working Papers 8920, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Fabian Duarte & Justine S. Hastings, 2012. "Fettered Consumers and Sophisticated Firms: Evidence from Mexico's Privatized Social Security Market," NBER Working Papers 18582, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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