The Impact of High School Financial Education on Financial Knowledge and Choices: Evidence from a Randomized Trial in Spain
56 Pages Posted: 2 Feb 2018
Date Written: January 31, 2018
We study how a 10-hour course about personal finance delivered in compulsory secondary education affects a wide range of student’s outcomes over a three months horizon. The contents of the course covered budgeting, banking relationship and saving vehicles, but also awareness about future outcomes. To obtain reliable estimates, we conducted a randomized field experiment where 3,000 9th grade students coming from 78 Spanish high schools received financial education at different points of the academic year. Right after the course, performance in standardized tests of financial knowledge increased by 16% of one standard deviation, and treated youths were more likely to become involved in financial matters at home and showed a higher degree of patience in hypothetical saving choices. An incentivized saving task conducted three months after delivering the course suggests that treated youths displayed more patient choices at various interest rates and maturities than a control group of 10th graders. The results of higher performance in financial test scores and the higher degree of patient choices in the incentivized saving task among the treated are statistically significant in strata with students with a relatively more disadvantaged background.
Keywords: financial education, impact evaluation
JEL Classification: D14, D91, I22, J24
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