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

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Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • 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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    1. 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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    3. Bruce Ian Carlin & David T. Robinson, 2012. "What Does Financial Literacy Training Teach Us?," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(3), pages 235-247, July.
    4. repec:zbw:rwirep:0234 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Jappelli, Tullio & Padula, Mario, 2013. "Investment in financial literacy and saving decisions," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(8), pages 2779-2792.
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    Keywords

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