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Financial literacy and the financial crisis

  • Klapper, Leora
  • Lusardi, Annamaria
  • Panos, Georgios A.

The ability of consumers to make informed financial decisions improves their chances of having sound personal finance. This paper uses a panel dataset from Russia, where consumer loans grew at an astounding rate -- from about US$10 billion in 2003 to over US$170 billion in 2008 -- to examine the importance of financial literacy and its relationship with behavior. The survey asked questions on financial literacy, consumer borrowing (formal and informal), and spending behavior. The paper studies the consequences of greater financial literacy on the use of financial products and financial planning. Even though consumer borrowing rose rapidly in Russia, only 41 percent of the survey respondents understood how interest compounding worked and only 46 percent could answer a simple question about inflation. Financial literacy is positively related to participation in financial markets and negatively related to the use of informal sources of borrowing. Individuals with higher rates of financial literacy are significantly more likely to report having more unspent income at the end of the month and higher spending capacity. The relationship between financial literacy and the availability of unspent income is more evident during the financial crisis, suggesting that better financial literacy may better equip individuals to deal with macroeconomic shocks.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5980.

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Date of creation: 01 Feb 2012
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5980
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  1. 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.
  2. Klapper, Leora & Panos, Georgios A., 2011. "Financial literacy and retirement planning : the Russian case," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5827, The World Bank.
  3. Sumit Agarwal & John C Driscoll & Xavier Gabaix & David Laibson, 2007. "The Age of Reason: Financial Decisions Over the Lifecycle," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000001752, UCLA Department of Economics.
  4. Almenberg, Johan & Dreber, Anna, 2011. "Gender, Stock Market Participation and Financial Literacy," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 737, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 16 Aug 2011.
  5. 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).
  6. Calvet, Laurent E. & Campbell, John Y. & Sodini, Paolo, 2006. "Down or Out: Assessing The Welfare Costs of Household Investment Mistakes," Working Paper Series 195, Sveriges Riksbank (Central Bank of Sweden).
  7. Annamaria Lusardi & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2009. "How Ordinary Consumers Make Complex Economic Decisions: Financial Literacy and Retirement Readiness," NBER Working Papers 15350, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Mitchell, Olivia S. & Lusardi, Annamaria (ed.), 2011. "Financial Literacy: Implications for Retirement Security and the Financial Marketplace," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199696819, March.
  9. Annamaria Lusardi & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2008. "Planning and Financial Literacy: How Do Women Fare?," NBER Working Papers 13750, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  13. Justine S. Hastings & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2011. "How Financial Literacy and Impatience Shape Retirement Wealth and Investment Behaviors," NBER Working Papers 16740, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  16. James Banks & Zoë Oldfield, 2006. "Understanding pensions: cognitive function, numerical ability and retirement saving," IFS Working Papers W06/05, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  17. Stanislav Kolenikov & Gustavo Angeles, 2009. "Socioeconomic Status Measurement With Discrete Proxy Variables: Is Principal Component Analysis A Reliable Answer?," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 55(1), pages 128-165, 03.
  18. 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.
  19. Victor Stango & Jonathan Zinman, 2009. "Exponential Growth Bias and Household Finance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 64(6), pages 2807-2849, December.
  20. 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.
  21. Richard Disney & John Gathergood, . "Financial Literacy ad Indebtedness: New Evidence for UK Consumers," Discussion Papers 11/05, University of Nottingham, Centre for Finance, Credit and Macroeconomics (CFCM).
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