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Financial education and investment attitudes in high schools: evidence from a randomized experiment



We experimentally study the effect of financial education on investment attitudes in a large sample of high school students in Italy. Students in the treated classes were taught a course in finance and interviewed before and after the study, while controls were only interviewed. Our principal result is that the difference-in-difference estimates of the effect of the course are not statistically significant. However, the course in finance reduced the virtual demand for cash, and increased the level of financial literacy and the propensity to read (and the capacity to understand) economic articles in both treated and control classes compared with pre-treatment baseline levels. A breakdown of the cognitive process, which is statistically significant for the classes treated, suggests that error and ignorance reduction was sizable, and that the progress in financial literacy was stronger in subgroups which exhibited lower ex-ante knowledge levels.

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  • Leonardo Becchetti & Stefano Caiazza & Decio Coviello, 2011. "Financial education and investment attitudes in high schools: evidence from a randomized experiment," CEIS Research Paper 210, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 07 Sep 2011.
  • Handle: RePEc:rtv:ceisrp:210

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jappelli, Tullio & Padula, Mario, 2013. "Investment in financial literacy and saving decisions," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(8), pages 2779-2792.
    2. Kevin Milligan & Enrico Moretti & Philip Oreopoulos, 2003. "Does Education Improve Citizenship? Evidence from the U.S. and the U.K," NBER Working Papers 9584, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    1. Bruhn, Miriam & de Souza Leao, Luciana & Legovini, Arianna & Marchetti, Rogelio & Zia, Bilal, 2013. "The impact of high school financial education : experimental evidence from Brazil," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6723, The World Bank.
    2. Margaret Miller & Julia Reichelstein & Christian Salas & Bilal Zia, 2015. "Can You Help Someone Become Financially Capable? A Meta-Analysis of the Literature," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 30(2), pages 220-246.
    3. B. Ronchini, 2015. "Il ruolo emergente dell'edutainment nei percorsi di educazione finanziaria," Economics Department Working Papers 2015-EF03, Department of Economics, Parma University (Italy).
    4. Yeboah, Augustine Kwadwo & Obeng, Camara Kwasi, 2016. "Effect of financial literacy on willingness to pay for micro-insurance by commercial market business operators in Ghana," MPRA Paper 70135, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Laura Hospido & Ernesto Villanueva & Gema Zamarro, 2015. "Finance For All: The Impact Of Financial Literacy Training In Compulsory Secondary Education In Spain," Working Papers 1502, Banco de España;Working Papers Homepage.
    6. Tabea Bucher-Koenen & Annamaria Lusardi & Rob Alessie & Maarten van Rooij, 2017. "How Financially Literate Are Women? An Overview and New Insights," Journal of Consumer Affairs, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(2), pages 255-283, July.
    7. Angela Romagnoli & Maurizio Trifilidis, 2015. "Does Financial Education at School work? Evidence from Italy," Rivista Bancaria - Minerva Bancaria, Istituto di Cultura Bancaria Francesco Parrillo, issue 1, January -.
    8. Leonardo Becchetti & Fabio Pisani, 2011. "Financial education on secondary school students: the randomized experiment revisited," Econometica Working Papers wp34, Econometica.
    9. James Berry & Dean Karlan & Menno Pradhan, 2015. "The Impact of Financial Education for Youth in Ghana," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 15-043/V, Tinbergen Institute.
    10. Brugiavini, Agar & Cavapozzi, Danilo & Padula, Mario & Pettinicchi, Yuri, 2015. "Financial education, literacy and investment attitudes," SAFE Working Paper Series 86, Research Center SAFE - Sustainable Architecture for Finance in Europe, Goethe University Frankfurt.
    11. Bryan C. McCannon & Colleen Tokar Asaad & Mark Wilson, 2016. "Financial competence, overconfidence, and trusting investments: Results from an experiment," Journal of Economics and Finance, Springer;Academy of Economics and Finance, vol. 40(3), pages 590-606, July.
    12. Tim Kaiser & Lukas Menkhoff, 2017. "Does Financial Education Impact Financial Literacy and Financial Behavior, and If So, When?," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 31(3), pages 611-630.
    13. Lührmann, Melanie & Serra-Garcia, Marta & Winter, Joachim, 2015. "Teaching teenagers in finance: Does it work?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 160-174.
    14. Olympia Bover & Laura Hospido & Ernesto Villanueva, "undated". "The impact of high school financial education on financial knowledge and choices: evidence from a randomized trial in Spain," Working Papers 1801, Banco de España;Working Papers Homepage.
    15. Melanie Lührmann & Marta Serra-Garcia & Joachim Winter, 2014. "The Impact of Financial Education on Adolescents' Intertemporal Choices," CESifo Working Paper Series 4925, CESifo Group Munich.
    16. E. Bocchialini & B. Ronchini, 2015. "I divari di genere nella financial literacy: un'indagine empirica," Economics Department Working Papers 2015-EF01, Department of Economics, Parma University (Italy).
    17. Cordero, José Manuel & Gil, María & Pedraja Chaparro, Francisco, 2016. "Exploring the effect of financial literacy courses on student achievement: a cross-country approach using PISA 2012 data," MPRA Paper 75474, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    18. Bover, Olympia & Hospido, Laura & Villanueva, Ernesto, 2018. "The Impact of High School Financial Education on Financial Knowledge and Choices: Evidence from a Randomized Trial in Spain," IZA Discussion Papers 11265, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    19. Coda Moscarola, Flavia & Migheli, Matteo, 2015. "Educating Children to Save: an Experimental Approach to Financial Education of Pupils in Primary Schools," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 201502, University of Turin.
    20. repec:kap:decono:v:165:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s10645-017-9300-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    21. Winter, Joachim & Lührmann, Melanie & Serra Garcia, Marta, 2013. "The effects of financial literacy training: Evidence from a field experiment in German high schools," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79744, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

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    financial education; financial literacy; demand for money balances; randomized experiment.;

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