Educating the Experts: Online Financial Education for Credit Union Employees

27 Pages Posted: 14 Mar 2011 Last revised: 4 Apr 2011

See all articles by J. Michael Collins

J. Michael Collins

University of Wisconsin - Madison

Deanna Dietrich

University of Wisconsin - Madison

Date Written: March 15, 2011

Abstract

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

Collins, J. Michael and Dietrich, Deanna, Educating the Experts: Online Financial Education for Credit Union Employees (March 15, 2011). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1783918 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1783918

J. Michael Collins (Contact Author)

University of Wisconsin - Madison ( email )

United States
6086160369 (Phone)

Deanna Dietrich

University of Wisconsin - Madison ( email )

716 Langdon Street
Madison, WI 53706-1481
United States

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