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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. 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.
  2. Christelis, Dimitris & Jappelli, Tullio & Padula, Mario, 2010. "Cognitive abilities and portfolio choice," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 18-38, January.
  3. Kristopher Gerardi & Lorenz Goette & Stephan Meier, 2010. "Financial literacy and subprime mortgage delinquency: evidence from a survey matched to administrative data," Working Paper 2010-10, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  4. Maarten C.J. van Rooij & Annamaria Lusardi & Rob J.M. Alessie, 2012. "Financial Literacy, Retirement Planning and Household Wealth," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 122(560), pages 449-478, 05.
  5. Maarten van Rooij & Annamaria Lusardi & Rob Alessi, 2007. "Financial literacy and stock market participation," DNB Working Papers 146, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
  6. Luigi Guiso & Tullio Jappelli, 2008. "Financial Literacy and Portfolio Diversification," EIEF Working Papers Series 0812, Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF), revised Oct 2008.
  7. John Ameriks & Andrew Caplin & John Leahy, 2002. "Wealth Accumulation and the Propensity to Plan," NBER Working Papers 8920, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Jappelli, Tullio, 2010. "Economic literacy: An international comparison," CFS Working Paper Series 2010/16, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  11. Lusardi, Annamaria & Mitchell, Olivia S., 2006. "Baby boomer retirement security: The roles of planning, financial literacy, and Housing wealth," CFS Working Paper Series 2006/20, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  12. Annamaria Lusardi & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2008. "Planning and Financial Literacy: How Do Women Fare?," CeRP Working Papers 72, Center for Research on Pensions and Welfare Policies, Turin (Italy).
  13. McArdle, John J. & Smith, James P. & Willis, Robert, 2009. "Cognition and Economic Outcomes in the Health and Retirement Survey," IZA Discussion Papers 4269, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. Orazio P. Attanasio & Guglielmo Weber, 1994. "Is Consumption Growth Consistent with Intertemporal Optimization? Evidence from the Consumer Expenditure Survey," NBER Working Papers 4795, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Justine S. Hastings & Lydia Tejeda-Ashton, 2008. "Financial Literacy, Information, and Demand Elasticity: Survey and Experimental Evidence from Mexico," NBER Working Papers 14538, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Attanasio, Orazio P & Weber, Guglielmo, 1993. "Consumption Growth, the Interest Rate and Aggregation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(3), pages 631-49, July.
  17. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier & Nahid Tabatabai, 2012. "Financial Knowledge and Financial Literacy at the Household Level," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(3), pages 309-13, May.
  18. Eric A. Hanushek & Ludger Woessmann, 2008. "The Role of Cognitive Skills in Economic Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(3), pages 607-68, September.
  19. James Banks & Cormac O'Dea & Zoë Oldfield, 2010. "Cognitive Function, Numeracy and Retirement Saving Trajectories," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(548), pages F381-F410, November.
  20. 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).
  21. Victor Stango & Jonathan Zinman, 2009. "Exponential Growth Bias and Household Finance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 64(6), pages 2807-2849, December.
  22. Annamaria Lusardi & Olivia S. Mitchell & Vilsa Curto, 2009. "Financial Literacy among the Young: Evidence and Implications for Consumer Policy," CeRP Working Papers 91, Center for Research on Pensions and Welfare Policies, Turin (Italy).
  23. Charlotte Christiansen & Juanna Schröter Joensen & Jesper Rangvid, 2007. "Are Economists More Likely to Hold Stocks?," CREATES Research Papers 2007-08, School of Economics and Management, University of Aarhus.
  24. 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.
  25. repec:ecj:econjl:v:122:y:2012:i::p:449-478 is not listed on IDEAS
  26. 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.
  27. Viola Angelini & Agar Brugiavini & Guglielmo Weber, 2009. "Ageing and unused capacity in Europe: is there an early retirement trap?," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 24, pages 463-508, 07.
  28. Card, David, 2001. "Estimating the Return to Schooling: Progress on Some Persistent Econometric Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(5), pages 1127-60, September.
  29. 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.
  30. James Banks & Zoë Oldfield, 2006. "Understanding pensions: cognitive function, numerical ability and retirement saving," IFS Working Papers W06/05, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
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