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Investment in Financial Literacy and Saving Decisions

We present an intertemporal consumption model of consumer investment in financial literacy. Consumers benefit from such investment because their stock of financial literacy allows them to increase the returns on their wealth. Since literacy depreciates over time and has a cost in terms of current consumption, the model determines an optimal investment in literacy. The model shows that financial literacy and wealth are determined jointly, and are positively correlated over the life cycle. Empirically, the model leads to an instrumental variables approach, in which the initial stock of financial literacy (as measured by math performance in school) is used as an instrument for the current stock of literacy. Using microeconomic and aggregate data, we find a strong effect of financial literacy on wealth accumulation and national saving, and also show that ordinary least squares estimates underestate the impact of financial literacy on saving.

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Paper provided by Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy in its series CSEF Working Papers with number 272.

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Date of creation: 28 Jan 2011
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Publication status: Published in Journal of Banking & Finance, 2013, 37(8), 2779–2792
Handle: RePEc:sef:csefwp:272
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  1. Jere R. Behrman & Olivia S. Mitchell & Cindy Soo & David Bravo, 2010. "Financial Literacy, Schooling, and Wealth Accumulation," NBER Working Papers 16452, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Lusardi, Annamaria & Mitchell, Olivia S., 2007. "Baby Boomer retirement security: The roles of planning, financial literacy, and housing wealth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 205-224, January.
  3. Jappelli, Tullio, 2010. "Economic literacy: An international comparison," CFS Working Paper Series 2010/16, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
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  6. Maarten van Rooij & Annamaria Lusardi & Rob Alessie, 2007. "Financial Literacy and Stock Market Participation," CeRP Working Papers 66, Center for Research on Pensions and Welfare Policies, Turin (Italy).
  7. Hanushek, Eric A. & Wößmann, Ludger, 2008. "The role of cognitive skills in economic development," Munich Reprints in Economics 20454, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  8. Jappelli, Tullio & Padula, Mario, 2013. "Investment in financial literacy, social security and portfolio choice," CFS Working Paper Series 2013/12, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  9. Luigi Guiso & Tullio Jappelli, 2009. "Financial Literacy and Portfolio Diversification," CSEF Working Papers 212, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  10. Dimitrios Christelis & Tullio Jappelli & Mario Padula, 2006. "Cognitive Abilities and Portfolio Choice," CSEF Working Papers 157, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  11. Annamaria Lusardi & Pierre-Carl Michaud & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2013. "Optimal Financial Knowledge and Wealth Inequality," NBER Working Papers 18669, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Maarten van Rooij & Annamaria Lusardi & Rob Alessie, 2009. "Financial Literacy and Retirement Planning in the Netherlands," DNB Working Papers 231, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
  13. Attanasio, Orazio P & Weber, Guglielmo, 1995. "Is Consumption Growth Consistent with Intertemporal Optimization? Evidence from the Consumer Expenditure Survey," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(6), pages 1121-57, December.
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  19. repec:ecj:econjl:v:122:y:2012:i::p:449-478 is not listed on IDEAS
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  25. Victor Stango & Jonathan Zinman, 2009. "Exponential Growth Bias and Household Finance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 64(6), pages 2807-2849, December.
  26. John Ameriks & Andrew Caplin & John Leahy, 2003. "Wealth Accumulation and the Propensity to Plan," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(3), pages 1007-1047.
  27. Pamela Herd & Karen Holden & Yung Ting Su, 2012. "The Links between Early-Life Cognition and Schooling and Late-Life Financial Knowledge," Journal of Consumer Affairs, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(3), pages 411-435, 09.
  28. Shawn Cole & Thomas Sampson & Bilal Zia, 2011. "Prices or Knowledge? What Drives Demand for Financial Services in Emerging Markets?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 66(6), pages 1933-1967, December.
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  30. Kristopher S. Gerardi & Lorenz Goette & Stephan Meier, 2010. "Financial literacy and subprime mortgage delinquency: evidence from a survey matched to administrative data," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2010-10, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
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