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National culture and financial literacy: international evidence

Muzaffarjon Ahunov and Leo Van Hove

Applied Economics, 2020, vol. 52, issue 21, 2261-2279

Abstract: We examine to what extent (aspects of) national culture can explain cross-country variations in financial literacy. Our results, for a sample of 92 countries, show that Hofstede’s dimensions of power distance and individualism explain, respectively, over 40 and 60 per cent – which is substantially more than national cognitive scores and standard economic variables. In particular, we find that financial literacy is lower in countries where power distance is high, and that the opposite is true for individualism. Uncertainty avoidance would seem be negatively related with financial literacy, but the evidence is not so strong. For masculinity, indulgence, and long-term orientation we find no significant impact. Overall, our results highlight the need for additional (interdisciplinary) theories that can improve our understanding of the determinants of financial literacy and better guide policies in this area.

Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1080/00036846.2019.1688241

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