The Financial Education Fallacy
Lauren E. Willis
American Economic Review, 2011, vol. 101, issue 3, 429-34
Research to date does not demonstrate a causal chain from financial education to welfare-enhancing financial behavior, in part due to biases, heuristics, and emotional influences on decisions. Yet the search for effective financial education continues. But it is time to ask whether giving every person effective financial education would make us better off. Two reasons it might not are discussed here. First, the time, expense, and invasion of privacy required would be enormous. Second, such a world would entail a decrease in individual autonomy. Alternative tools could potentially increase household financial welfare and security at lower social and individual expense.
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