NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Financial Literacy, Schooling, and Wealth Accumulation

Jere R. Behrman, Olivia S. Mitchell, Cindy Soo, David Bravo

NBER Working Paper No. 16452
Issued in October 2010
NBER Program(s):   AG

Financial literacy and schooling attainment have been linked to household wealth accumulation. Yet prior findings may be biased due to noisy measures of financial literacy and schooling, as well as unobserved factors such as ability, intelligence, and motivation that could enhance financial literacy and schooling but also directly affect wealth accumulation. We use a new household dataset and an instrumental variables approach to isolate the causal effects of financial literacy and schooling on wealth accumulation. While financial literacy and schooling attainment are both strongly positively associated with wealth outcomes in linear regression models, our approach reveals even stronger and larger effects of financial literacy on wealth. Estimated impacts are substantial enough to suggest that investments in financial literacy could have large positive effects on household wealth accumulation.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w16452

Published: Behrman, Jere, Olivia S. Mitchell, Cindy Soo, and David Bravo. (2012). “Financial Literacy, Schooling, and Wealth Accumulation.” American Economic Review P&P. 102(3): 300–304.

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