Financial literacy – Research on an international  21st century skill

Year: 2012

Author: Breuer, Klaus

Type of paper: Abstract refereed


Managing the personal financial resources is a challenge for young people all over the world.  Most young adults succeed in this mission. However a rising number go into debt or even become over-indebted. In western societies statistics give evidence of a growing problem. A common explanation hints to lack of knowledge in the financial domain. The claim for fostering financial literacy arises. A question however is whether knowledge on its own provides the basis for the desired ability. The development of a more sophisticated conceptualization of financial problem-solving by means of methodologies from social sciences is a challenge.

Instruments with valid foundations have become available and are used within quasi-experimental designs to study the development of aspects of financial literacy. One finding from previous studies has been confirmed already: The level of financial knowledge is rather low. In addition, training programs on financial literacy show small cognitive effects only. We are studying effects on affective developments now and will report on such findings.