Understanding Financial Education: What Works, What Doesn’t, and What’s Next?
May 23, 2017Science of Delivery

Financial education has fast emerged as a key policy tool to help individuals and households navigate the increasingly complex financial decisions they have to make in both the short- and long-term.Yet, evidence is very mixed on the effectiveness of such programs, which generally under-deliver on their original promise.

This talk digs into the weeds of financial education and summarizes the growing consensus on what works and what doesn’t in the financial education space. What we do know is that conventional approaches that involve financial education delivery through standard classrooms are universally ineffective. However, some new and innovative approaches show a lot more promise. These approaches focus on alternative delivery channels and target groups, personalized content, and the use of psychological insights and triggers to facilitate behavior change.

Through this new line of research, we can begin to understand which aspects of financial education interventions facilitate informed economic decision-making, and where the link between financial education and financial outcomes might break down in unsuccessful programs. 

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    Bilal Zia, Senior Economist, Development Research Group

    Bilal Zia is a Senior Economist in the Finance and Private Sector Development Team of the Development Research Group at the World Bank in Washington, DC. He joined in July 2006 after completing a Ph.D. in Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His research is focused on financial development at the household, firm, and bank levels, and his work has appeared in top academic journals such as the Journal of Finance, Journal of Financial Economics, American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, Management Science, and Journal of Development Economics. He uses both experimental and non-experimental methods and some of his recent work includes rigorous impact evaluations of financial and business education programs, testing innovative methods to improve financial access for households and firms and applying insights from behavioral economics to development finance.
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    Asli Demirgüç-Kunt, Director of Research Department

    Asli Demirgüç-Kunt is the Director of Research in the World Bank. After joining the Bank in 1989 as a Young Economist, she has held different positions, including Director of Development Policy, Chief Economist of Financial and Private Sector Development Network, and Senior Research Manager, doing research and advising on financial sector and private sector development issues.
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    Ceyla Pazarbasioglu, Senior Director, Finance and Markets Global Practice

    Ceyla Pazarbasioglu is Senior Director for the Finance and Markets Global Practice, World Bank Group, since February 1, 2017. Prior to taking on this role, she was a Senior Adviser in the Finance and Markets Global Practice and the Global Lead for the Financial Sector Oversight and Policy and Bank Regulation and Restructuring areas. Prior to this, she was Deputy Director at the Monetary and Capital Markets Department of the IMF, where she oversaw the work on financial sector regulation and supervision, and crisis prevention and management

The Policy Research Talks showcase the latest findings of the research department and their implications for World Bank operations. The goal of the monthly event is to facilitate a dialogue between researchers and operational staff, so that we can challenge and contribute to the World Bank's intellectual climate and re-examine conventional wisdom in current development theories and practices.  Read More »

Event Details
  • Time: 12:30 – 2:00 PM, May 23, 2017
  • Location: MC 13-121, World Bank Main Complex
  • CONTACT: Tourya Tourougui