Other Unpublished Work | 2010

Is High School the Right Time to Teach Self-control? The Effect of Financial Education and Mathematics Courses on Savings Behavior

by Shawn A. Cole and Gauri Kartini Shastry

Abstract

Household financial behavior affects household welfare and the economy at large. Yet our understanding of how to improve financial decisions is limited. Recent literature and policy attention have focused on financial education, for example, in high school. We use variation in state reforms on high school graduation requirements to examine the impact on asset accumulation. In contrast to previous research, we find that state mandates requiring students take a financial literacy course do not affect the propensity to save. We also find that state reforms increasing the number of required math courses improve financial behavior for women, but not men.

Keywords: Saving; Financial Management; Secondary Education; Behavior; Decision Choices and Conditions; Personal Finance; Household Characteristics;