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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. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Christelis, Dimitris & Jappelli, Tullio & Padula, Mario, 2006. "Cognitive Abilities and Portfolio Choice," CEPR Discussion Papers 5735, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. 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.
  10. Maarten van Rooij & Annamaria Lusardi & Rob Alessie, 2011. "Financial Literacy, Retirement Planning, and Household Wealth," CeRP Working Papers 119, Center for Research on Pensions and Welfare Policies, Turin (Italy).
  11. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier & Nahid Tabatabai, 2010. "Financial Knowledge and Financial Literacy at the Household Level," NBER Working Papers 16500, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. 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.
  13. Annamaria Lusardi & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2008. "Planning and Financial Literacy: How Do Women Fare?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 413-17, May.
  14. John J. McArdle & James P. Smith & Robert Willis, 2009. "Cognition and Economic Outcomes in the Health and Retirement Survey," NBER Working Papers 15266, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. Card, David, 2001. "Estimating the Return to Schooling: Progress on Some Persistent Econometric Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(5), pages 1127-60, September.
  18. Tullio Jappelli, 2009. "Economic Literacy: An International Comparison," CSEF Working Papers 238, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  19. Maarten vanRooij & Annamaria Lusardi & Rob Alessie, 2007. "Financial Literacy and Stock Market Participation," Working Papers wp162, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  20. 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.
  21. Annamaria Lusardi & Olivia S. Mitchell & Vilsa Curto, 2009. "Financial Literacy among the Young: Evidence and Implications for Consumer Policy," NBER Working Papers 15352, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Victor Stango & Jonathan Zinman, 2009. "Exponential Growth Bias and Household Finance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 64(6), pages 2807-2849, December.
  23. James Banks & Zoe Oldfield, 2007. "Understanding Pensions: Cognitive Function, Numerical Ability and Retirement Saving," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 28(2), pages 143-170, 06.
  24. 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).
  25. 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.
  26. repec:ecj:econjl:v:122:y:2012:i::p:449-478 is not listed on IDEAS
  27. Annamaria Lusardi & Pierre-Carl Michaud & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2013. "Optimal Financial Knowledge and Wealth Inequality," CeRP Working Papers 133, Center for Research on Pensions and Welfare Policies, Turin (Italy).
  28. 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.
  29. 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.
  30. 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.
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