The Impact of High School Financial Education

Evidence from a Large-Scale Evaluation in Brazil


Financial products and services are now widely available but what is the capacity of individuals and households to make informed financial choices? Policy responses include introducing consumer protection measures and promoting financial education programs aimed at adults. Yet despite their popularity, rigorous evidence on the impact of such programs shows only slight improvements in financial behavior which tend to dissipate over time.

A new study examines the impact of a comprehensive high school financial education program spanning 6 states, 892 schools, and approximately 25,000 students in Brazil through a randomized control trial.

The results indicate that the program increased student financial proficiency by a quarter of a standard deviation and raised grade-level passing rates. Short-term financial behaviors however, show mixed results with considerable improvements in students’ savings and budgeting as well as positive spillovers to parents, but also an increase in students’ use of expensive credit to make consumer purchases.

Read the full study here.


Last Updated: Nov 23, 2016


Arianna Legovini

Head of Development Impact Evaluation (DIME)

Bilal Zia

Senior Economist

Miriam Bruhn

Senior Economist