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Experimental Evidence on the Effects of Financial Education on Elementary School Students' Knowledge, Behavior, and Attitudes

Michael Batty, J. Michael Collins and Elizabeth Odders-White

Journal of Consumer Affairs, 2015, vol. 49, issue 1, 69-96

Abstract: type="main" xml:id="joca12058-abs-0001"> As the financial landscape for consumers becomes increasingly complex, the importance of facilitating financial capability increases. Although most financial decisions are made by adults, there is a burgeoning interest in providing financial education to children in the hope that they will develop the skills needed to successfully manage their finances in adulthood. This study uses an experimental design to evaluate a set of standardized financial education lessons delivered to fourth and fifth graders in two different school districts. We find that even a relatively brief program results in knowledge gains that persist one year later. While measuring financial behaviors in this age group is challenging, students exposed to financial education have more positive attitudes about personal finance and appear more likely to save. These results show that younger students can learn financial topics and that learning is associated with improved attitudes and behaviors which, if sustained, may result in increased financial capability later in life.

Date: 2015
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Handle: RePEc:bla:jconsa:v:49:y:2015:i:1:p:69-96