Financial Education Affects Financial Knowledge and Downstream Behaviors
Author: Tim Kaiser
Topic: Financial behaviour/decisions
Publisher: GFLEC - Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center
Format: Working paper
Content Type: Research
Publication Date: March 4, 2021

This study covers the rapidly growing literature on the causal effects of financial education programs in a meta-analysis of 76 randomized experiments with a total sample size of over 160,000 individuals. The evidence shows that financial education programs have, on average, positive causal treatment effects on financial knowledge and downstream financial behaviors. Treatment effects are economically meaningful in size, similar to those realized by educational interventions in other domains and are at least three times as large as the average effect documented in earlier work. These results are robust to the method used, restricting the sample to papers published in top economics journals, including only studies with adequate power, and accounting for publication selection bias in the literature. The study concludes with a discussion of the cost-effectiveness of financial education interventions.

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