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Brühl, V. Financial Literacy Among German Students at Secondary Schools: Some Empirical Evidence from the State of Hesse. Applied Economics Quarterly, 65(4), 299-326.
Brühl, Volker "Financial Literacy Among German Students at Secondary Schools: Some Empirical Evidence from the State of Hesse" Applied Economics Quarterly 65.4, , 299-326.
Brühl, Volker: Financial Literacy Among German Students at Secondary Schools: Some Empirical Evidence from the State of Hesse, in: Applied Economics Quarterly, vol. 65, iss. 4, 299-326, [online]


Financial Literacy Among German Students at Secondary Schools: Some Empirical Evidence from the State of Hesse

Brühl, Volker

Applied Economics Quarterly, Vol. 65 (2019), Iss. 4 : pp. 299–326

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Brühl, Volker; Center for Financial Studies, House of Finance, Goethe University, Theodor-W.-Adorno-Platz 3, 60323 Frankfurt


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Since the financial crisis financial literacy has attracted growing interest among researchers and policy makers, as there is international empirical evidence that financial literacy is poor among both adults and students. In Germany we have almost no empirical evidence on financial literacy, especially in the case of students attending secondary schools, as financial education has not featured on German school curricula to date. Besides, Germany has not yet participated in the optional financial literacy module of PISA, which was offered for the first time in 2012. However, a lack of private pension provisioning, in spite of demographic change, and low stock ownership among German households indicate a deficit in financial knowledge and skills in this country as well.

In this paper we investigate financial literacy among students aged 14 to 16 attending a secondary school in the state of Hesse. The foundation is a test designed according to international standards. The statistical analysis of the test reveals substantial deficits in key areas of financial literacy. Particular deficits could be identified in the fields of basic knowledge of financial matters and, to an even greater degree, in more advanced concepts such as risk diversification. Applying interest calculations to financial matters turned out to be problematic for many students.

Furthermore, the paper analyses the impact of gender and type of school on the overall test score as well as test performance in specific tasks. The findings suggest that financial matters should be covered in some form at secondary schools. In light of the potentially far-reaching consequences of financial illiteracy for financial wellbeing, German participation in future PISA financial literacy tests seems highly advisable to gain a deeper understanding of the preliminary findings presented in this paper.

Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
Volker Brühl: Financial Literacy Among German Students at Secondary Schools: Some Empirical Evidence from the State of Hesse 1
Abstract 1
1. Introduction 2
2. Empirical Evidence on Financial Literacy 3
3. The Economic Relevance of Financial Literacy 4
4. Financial Literacy and PISA 5
5. Financial Literacy in Germany 6
6. Financial Education in German Schools 7
7. Empirical Analysis 9
Test design 1
Test Score and Translation into Grading 1
Data Analysis 1
Statistical Analysis of the Overall Test Results 1
Statistical Analysis of the Individual Test Questions 1
8. Conclusions 2
Appendix 1: Financial Literacy test 2
References 2