Does Financial Literacy Increase Students’ Perceived Value of Schooling?

Luca Maria Pesando

Abstract — Using data from the 2012 Programme for International Students Assessment (PISA) for Italy, this paper investigates whether financial literacy skills play a role in shaping the value that high school students place on schooling. We hypothesize that higher financial literacy may foster students’ awareness of the financial and non-financial benefits of gaining additional education, together with the costs associated with poor school outcomes. We complement OLS estimates with an instrumental variable (IV) approach to recover a plausibly causal effect of financial literacy on the school outcomes of interest, namely (a) truancy and time spent on homework outside of school (time commitment to education), and (b) attitudes towards school (attitudes). Results suggest that higher financial literacy increases students’ perceived value of schooling by boosting their time commitment to education. Conversely, there is no evidence that financial literacy shapes students’ attitudes towards school. We see this finding as consist is easier to measure objectively and reliably than attitudes.