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Economic and Financial Capability Education: K-12 and College Studies

Paper Session

Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018 10:15 AM - 12:15 PM

Marriott Philadelphia Downtown, Meeting Room 415
Hosted By: National Association of Economic Educators
  • Chair: Diego Méndez-Carbajo, Illinois Wesleyan University

Experiential Financial Literacy: A Field Study of My Classroom Economy

Michael Batty
,
Federal Reserve Board
J. Michael Collins
,
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Collin O’Rourke
,
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Elizabeth Odders-White
,
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Abstract

The teaching of nancial capability in schools has shifted in the last decade to earlier grades,
including elementary school. This randomized eld study assesses the impact of a simulated
classroom economy on students' nancial knowledge and behavior. Students show evidence of gains
in nancial knowledge, even though the program was entirely `learn by doing' rather than formal
instruction. Students also self report improved nancial behaviors, and school administrative data
show gains in learning in social studies and to a lesser extent, mathematics. Simulated experiential
learning about personal nance shows promise as a relatively ecient mechanism to build nancial
capability among elementary-school students and could serve as an important component of a
comprehensive e ort to promote nancial well-being in schools.

The Influence of Childhood Experiences on Financial Capability in Young Adulthood

Madelaine L'Esperance
,
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Cliff Robb
,
University of Wisconsin-Madison
J. Michael Collins
,
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Abstract

Using data from the Panel Study for Income Dynamics (PSID) Main Interview, Child
Development Supplement (CDS), and Transition to Adulthood Supplement (TA), we estimate the impact of state high school financial education requirements on financial capability in adulthood. Individuals are followed starting from age 0-12 years to early adulthood, age 18-27, and matched to their CDS parent/caregiver responses and family-level information reported in the PSID main interview. The State Mandated Financial Education Database (Urban, Schmeiser, & Collins 2015), a unique, publicly available dataset with information on state financial education mandates from 1970-2014, provides us with information on exogenous state-level changes in graduation requirements. We use a first differences approach to estimate the effect of state mandated financial education on financial capability in young adulthood. Preliminary results reveal that students who are required to complete an economics or personal finance course prior to high school graduation have higher financial capability than those without these requirements. We also explore heterogeneous effects of financial education by childhood economic hardship, parent’s educational attainment, race, and gender. Our study bridges a gap in the literature between human development, financial socialization and financial education. There is a lack of research that connects outcomes in adulthood to financial education and childhood financial environment. Our study fills this gap by identifying the effect of high school financial education, economic circumstances at different stages of development, and the interaction of the two on financial capability in early and mid-adulthood.

Economic Magnetism: Attracting and Repelling Majors

Tisha L. N. Emerson
,
Baylor University
KimMarie McGoldrick
,
University of Richmond

Abstract

Using student transcripts from ten institutions over a 23-year timespan, we investigate the
source of economics majors. We find that principles of economics students have declared a wide range of intended majors, including a relatively small share of economics majors. Although relatively few students are declared economics majors when they enroll in principles, the number of economics graduates rises by several orders of magnitude of the original number of majors. Growth in the major is actually even larger, however, since some attrition occurs in the original set of majors such that the majority of those graduating with a degree in economics switch in after the principles course. These eventual majors come from a variety of sources including engineering, math and physics and other social sciences. This movement between majors post principles underlies the importance of the principles course in major recruitment.

Gender Differences in Undergraduate Economics Course Persistence and Degree Selection

Laura Ahlstrom
,
University of Delaware

Abstract

The gender gap in degree attainment among undergraduate economics students has been well documented. Prior research finds that women are less likely to persist in economics courses and major in economics. Gender disparities may also exist in the type of economics degree students select. This study uses a series of logistic regressions to examine male and female economics course persistence at a large, state university via a combination of student, instructor, and structural characteristics. The study also assesses gender differences in a student’s choice of an economics degree from among a Bachelor of Science, a Bachelor of Arts, or an economics minor. Findings indicate that grades in economics courses are a significant determinant of course persistence and degree selection. Women’s choices are correlated with the grades they receive in their economics classes relative to the grades they earn in other departments’ courses, while men’s decisions are affected by both their absolute and relative economics grades. Additionally, women who choose an economics major by the time they complete their second economics course have a higher likelihood than their male counterparts of advancing to a subsequent economics course. Results also indicate that women’s math and verbal abilities are significantly correlated with their choice of economics degree, but men’s degree selection process is primarily influenced by their math aptitude. This study suggests that offering multiple types of economics degrees may encourage women with strong language skills to choose an economics major; however, women may never consider an economics degree if they perceive low relative grades in their economics courses as a signal that they will not be successful.

Economic Effects of Timing of Pop-quizzes on Student Behavior in Effort Investment and Learning Output

Tin-Chun Lin
,
Indiana University-Northwest

Abstract

The main purpose of this research is to verify whether the timing of pop-quizzes would influence students’ behavior in effort investment and learning output. Findings suggested that: (1) students’ in-class effort was the same whether pop-quizzes were held at the beginning or end of the class; while students studied harder outside the classroom in the beginning-of-class pop-quiz system than in the end-of-class pop quiz system; (2) students’ learning output was slightly better at the beginning of the system; (3) the mixed pop-quiz system was better than the other two systems in improving students’ efforts and learning outputs; and (4) daily lateness was lower in the beginning-of-class pop-quiz system than in the end-of-class pop-quiz system. However, early departures were lower in the end-of-class pop-quiz system than in the beginning-of-class pop-quiz system. A comparison of these three systems indicated that the mixed pop-quiz system lowered late class arrivals and early departures.
Discussant(s)
Andrew T. Hill
,
Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia
Laura Ahlstrom
,
University of Delaware
Tin-Chun Lin
,
Indiana University-Northwest
J. Michael Collins
,
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Cliff Robb
,
University of Wisconsin-Madison
JEL Classifications
  • A2 - Economic Education and Teaching of Economics
  • G0 - General