Financial Literacy, Financial Education, and Economic Outcomes

Annual Review of Economics

Vol. 5:347-373 (Volume publication date August 2013)
First published online as a Review in Advance on April 29, 2013


In this article, we review the literature on financial literacy, financial education, and consumer financial outcomes. We consider how financial literacy is measured in the current literature and examine how well the existing literature addresses whether financial education improves financial literacy or personal financial outcomes. We discuss the extent to which a competitive market provides incentives for firms to educate consumers or to offer products that facilitate informed choice. We review the literature on alternative policies to improve financial outcomes and compare the evidence with that on the efficacy and cost of financial education. Finally, we discuss directions for future research.