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Financial Literacy in Western Europe

  • Arrondel, Luc
  • Haupt, Marlene
  • Mancebón, María
  • Nicolini, Gianni
  • Wälti, Manuel
  • Wiersma, Jasmira
Publication Date
May 01, 2020
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If the idea of familiarizing individuals with savings is an old one, it is especially since the early 2000s that the economist's modern concept of financial literacy has been the object of particular attention. The literature, essentially empirical, has developed considerably since then. It is during this period that the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) launched its Financial Literacy Programme.The objective of this chapter was to describe financial literacy and financial education programs in Western Europe: France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. A first observation concerns financial literacy: to varying degrees, the residents of these countries are far from financially literate. A second observation concerns the heterogeneity of financial literacy. In all countries, financial literacy depends on age, education, and gender (higher among men, older people, and graduates). Some determinants appear to be more specific to the culture of each country (for example, political opinion in France, political past history in Germany (West vs. East), or language area in Switzerland). Finally, it appears that financial education programs have been in Western Europe since the mid-2000s, probably offered more systematically in centralized countries.

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