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Personal Financial Literacy Among High School Students in New Zealand, Japan and the United States


  • Michael P. Cameron

    () (University of Waikato)

  • Richard Calderwood

    () (University of Waikato)

  • Ashleigh Cox

    () (University of Waikato)

  • Steven Lim

    () (University of Waikato)

  • Michio Yamaoka

    () (Waseda University)


Personal financial literacy is becoming increasingly important in the modern world, especially for young people. In this paper we compare financial literacy of high school students in Hamilton, New Zealand, with samples from Japan and the United States. We compare not only overall financial literacy, but also literacy across five dimensions (or ‘themes’) of financial literacy, and across three cognitive levels. We find that financial literacy is poor overall in all three countries, but is substantially worse in New Zealand and the United States than in Japan. The performance is similar across themes and cognitive levels for U.S. and New Zealand students, but Japanese students perform better mostly in terms of their greater knowledge of terminology and definitions, rather than better comprehension and ability to apply their knowledge. This suggests that all three countries should work harder to develop the financial literacy of their high school students.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael P. Cameron & Richard Calderwood & Ashleigh Cox & Steven Lim & Michio Yamaoka, 2013. "Personal Financial Literacy Among High School Students in New Zealand, Japan and the United States," Working Papers in Economics 13/04, University of Waikato.
  • Handle: RePEc:wai:econwp:13/04

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    More about this item


    financial literacy; New Zealand; Japan; United States;

    JEL classification:

    • A21 - General Economics and Teaching - - Economic Education and Teaching of Economics - - - Pre-college
    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance

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