San Diego Law Review

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Financial literacy education has long been promoted as key to consumer financial well-being. It is widely embraced as an effective alternative to substantive legal regulation. Yet its effectiveness has never had more than negligible empirical support. This review (1) sets forth the model of financial literacy education subscribed to by policymakers today, (2) identifies pervasive and serious limitations in existing empirical research used by policymakers as evidence of the effectiveness of this education, and (3) recommends a number of alternative public policies suggested by the existing research. Researchers should be particularly cautious in the presentation of their findings, so that academic work will contribute to the public policy discussion empirical, rather than ideological, assessments of financial literacy education.

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