Educating the Experts: Online Financial Education for Credit Union Employees
27 Pages Posted: 14 Mar 2011 Last revised: 4 Apr 2011
Date Written: March 15, 2011
Financial education is often held up as a solution to negative financial behaviors, in large part due to the correlations among lower levels of financial knowledge, fewer savings behaviors, and higher rates of credit problems. Studies evaluating financial education are often plagued by methodological problems, especially selection bias, such that unobserved positive behaviors are correlated with attending financial education. This analysis tracks the self-reported financial knowledge and behavior of 1,052 credit union employees who had the opportunity to participate in an online financial education program. Twenty-one credit unions were randomly assigned to the treatment group, which offered the course to employees in late 2009. Twenty-four credit unions constituted the control group, which offered the course in early 2010. The intention-to-treat estimates show that controlling for employee and credit union characteristics, the offer of online financial education is related to statistically significant - but small - improvements in self-reported financial knowledge and behavior. These results suggest online financial education may be a useful delivery channel for financial content, but they also suggest caution regarding the potential of education as a behavioral remedy.
Keywords: Financial Education, Financial Literacy
JEL Classification: D14, D1, D10, D12
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation