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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
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Journal of Banking & Finance, 2013, 37(8), 2779–2792
Handle: RePEc:sef:csefwp:272
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  1. van Rooij, Maarten & Lusardi, Annamaria & Alessie, Rob J. M., 2007. "Financial literacy and stock market participation," CFS Working Paper Series 2007/27, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
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  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. 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.
  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.
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