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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. John Ameriks & Andrew Caplin & John Leahy, 2003. "Wealth Accumulation And The Propensity To Plan," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(3), pages 1007-1047, August.
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  7. 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.
  8. Gene Amromin & Jennifer Huang & Clemens Sialm, 2007. "The tradeoff between mortgage prepayments and tax-deferred retirement savings," NBER Chapters, in: Trans-Atlantic Public Economics Seminar (TAPES), Public Policy and Retirement, pages 2014-2040 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Santosh Anagol & Shawn Cole & Shayak Sarkar, 2012. "Understanding the Advice of Commissions-Motivated Agents: Evidence from the Indian Life Insurance Market," Harvard Business School Working Papers 12-055, Harvard Business School, revised Jan 2013.
  10. 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.
  11. Glenn Ellison, 2004. "A Model of Add-on Pricing," Economics Working Papers 0049, Institute for Advanced Study, School of Social Science.
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