Financial literacy and over-indebtedness in low-income households

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Abstract

Financial literacy can explain a significant proportion of wealth inequality. Among the key components of financial literacy are numeracy and money management skills. Our study examines the relative importance of these components in the determination of consumer debt and household net worth among credit union members in socially disadvantaged areas. The main finding from our analysis is that money management skills are important determinants of financial outcomes but that numeracy has almost no role to play. This result adds to a recent US-based behavioural finance literature on the role of attention and planning in consumer finance. Findings are found to be robust when the sample is reduced to only those who have a clear role in household financial decision-making and also when controlling for potential endogeneity. Our findings have policy implications in the UK and elsewhere as credit unions across the world are important players in national financial literacy strategies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Review of Financial Analysis
Volume48
Early online date30 Aug 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016

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