Redefining Successful Financial Education

60 Pages Posted: 8 Feb 2020 Last revised: 9 May 2022

See all articles by Olga Balakina

Olga Balakina

Aarhus University

Vimal Balasubramaniam

Queen Mary University of London; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Aditi Dimri

University of Warwick

Renuka Sane

National Institute of Public Finance and Policy

Date Written: March 22, 2022


Financial education interventions are considered successful when they help households make better financial decisions. However, this fails to account for the general equilibrium consequences of such an intervention. We redefine successful financial education as one where such interventions result in large enough effect sizes to move the market to an equilibrium where firms find it in their interest to unshroud product features to all consumers. We then assess a new product-specific rules of thumb-driven consumer financial education program. Our intervention improves knowledge and outcomes for newly-educated consumers. It is, however, a Pareto-improvement only under a narrow set of conditions. Positive treatment effects for a small fraction of retail consumers may come at the cost of other uninformed consumers. They are not enough to move the market to an unshrouded equilibrium, questioning the effectiveness of such an intervention.

Keywords: financial education, financial literacy, household finance

JEL Classification: G22, G5, G52

Suggested Citation

Balakina, Olga and Balasubramaniam, Vimal and Dimri, Aditi and Sane, Renuka, Redefining Successful Financial Education (March 22, 2022). Available at SSRN: or

Olga Balakina

Aarhus University ( email )

Fuglesangs Allé 4
Aarhus V, 8210

Vimal Balasubramaniam (Contact Author)

Queen Mary University of London ( email )

Mile End Road
London, London E1 4NS
United Kingdom

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

United Kingdom

Aditi Dimri

University of Warwick ( email )

Gibbet Hill Rd.
Coventry, West Midlands CV4 8UW
United Kingdom

Renuka Sane

National Institute of Public Finance and Policy ( email )

18/2, Satsang Vihar Marg
New Delhi, 110067

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