How financially literate are women? An overview and new insights

Tabea Bucher-Koenen, Annamaria Lusardi, Rob Alessie, Maarten van Rooij

NBER Working Paper No. 20793
Issued in December 2014
NBER Program(s):Aging

We document strikingly similar gender differences in financial literacy across countries. When asked to answer questions that measure knowledge of basic financial concepts, women are less likely than men to answer correctly and more likely to indicate that they do not know the answer. In addition, women give themselves lower scores on financial literacy self-assessments than men. Both young and old women show low levels of financial literacy. Moreover, women for whom financial knowledge is likely to be very important—for example widows or single women—know little about concepts relevant for day-to-day financial decisions. Even women in favorable economic conditions are less financially knowledgeable than men. This is important because financial literacy has been linked to economic behavior, including retirement planning and wealth accumulation. Women live longer than men and are likely to spend time in widowhood. As a result, improving women’s financial literacy is key to helping them prepare for retirement and promoting their financial security.

download in pdf format
   (525 K)

email paper

The NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health provides summaries of publications like this.  You can sign up to receive the NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health by email.

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w20793

Published: Tabea Bucher-Koenen & Annamaria Lusardi & Rob Alessie & Maarten van Rooij, 2017. "How Financially Literate Are Women? An Overview and New Insights," Journal of Consumer Affairs, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(2), pages 255-283, July. citation courtesy of

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded* these:
Boisclair, Lusardi, and Michaud w20297 Financial Literacy and Retirement Planning in Canada
Lusardi and Mitchell w17107 Financial Literacy around the World: An Overview
Lusardi and Mitchell w17078 Financial Literacy and Planning: Implications for Retirement Wellbeing
Niederle w20788 Gender
Papay, Murnane, and Willett w20802 Income-based Inequality in Educational Outcomes: Learning from State Longitudinal Data Systems
NBER Videos

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email:

Contact Us