Tim Kaiser holds is an assistant professor of Economics at the University of Koblenz-Landau, Germany. He received his doctoral degree at the University of Kiel, Germany, and was a post-doctoral researcher at the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin). His current research focuses on experimental impact evaluations of financial education interventions in both developing and developed countries.
We study the rapidly growing literature on the causal effects of financial education programs in a meta-analysis of 76 randomized experiments with a total sample size of over 160,000 individuals. The evidence shows that financial education programs have, on average, positive causal treatment effects on financial knowledge and downstream financial behaviors. Treatment effects are economically meaningful in size, similar to those realized by educational interventions in other domains and are at least three times as large as the average effect documented in earlier work. These results are robust to the method used, restricting the sample to papers published in top economics journals, including only studies with adequate power, and accounting for publication selection bias in the literature. We conclude with a discussion of the cost-effectiveness of financial education interventions.