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Research Seminars & Workshops @ IRES

Financial Literacy Externalities

Professor Michael Haliassos
Goethe University Frankfurt

Date: 15 February 2017 (Wednesday)
Time: 4.00pm - 5.30pm
Venue: RMI Executive Seminar Room
Chair: Dr Cristian Badarinza

Michael Haliassos holds the Chair for Macroeconomics and Finance at Goethe University Frankfurt and is Founding Director of the CEPR Network on Household Finance, and Research Fellow of the Centre for Economic Policy Research and of NETSPAR. He has been advisor to the European Central Bank on the Household Finances and Consumption Survey since its inception in 2006; and is consultant to the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) on Investor Protection. He has been Director of the Center for Financial Studies (1.2010-12.2015) and Founding Director of SAFE, a multi-million center of excellence (2013-15). Haliassos received a B.A. from Cambridge University, and a Ph.D. in Economics from Yale University in 1987, under the supervision of James Tobin. His research interests’ lie in Macroeconomics and Finance with emphasis on household finance, where he has been among the early contributors. He has co-edited the standard reference in the field (Household Portfolios, MIT Press, 2001), and edited a three-volume collection of critical writings (Edward Elgar, 2015). His papers have appeared in major international journals and edited volumes, including the Review of Financial Studies, Management Science, the Review of Economics and Statistics, the International Economic Review, and the Economic Journal. He edited an MIT Press volume on Financial Innovation: Too Much or Too Little? in 2013, and he co-edited a CUP volume on Financial Regulation: A Transatlantic Perspective in 2015.

This paper uses unique administrative data and a quasi-field experiment of exogenous allocation of refugees in Sweden to estimate effects of exposure to financially literate neighbors on household financial behavior. The paper contributes evidence of a causal impact of financial literacy on behavior and points to a social multiplier of financial education initiatives. Exposure promotes saving for retirement in the medium run and stockholding in the longer run, more so when neighbors have economics or business education. Significant effects are only observed on educated or male-headed households. Findings point strongly to transfer of knowledge rather than mere imitation. They are relevant both for financial education and for refugee placement policies.

For more information please contact IRES at 6516 8288 or 6516 6947

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