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WPS6107 Policy Research Working Paper 6107

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Financial Literacy around the World
An Overview of the Evidence with Practical Suggestions for the Way Forward
Lisa Xu Bilal Zia

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The World Bank Development Research Group Finance and Private Sector Development Team June 2012

Policy Research Working Paper 6107

Financial literacy programs are fast becoming a key ingredient in financial policy reform worldwide. Yet, what is financial literacy exactly and what do we know of its effectiveness? This paper collects insights from the literature thus far and summarizes global evidence on financial literacy, its correlates, and existing and upcoming causal investigations. The authors conclude with a synthesis of policy advice and practical suggestions for the way forward in this fast growing area of research.

This paper is a product of the Finance and Private Sector Development Team, Development Research Group. It is part of a larger effort by the World Bank to provide open access to its research and make a contribution to development policy discussions around the world. Policy Research Working Papers are also posted on the Web at The author may be contacted at

The Policy Research Working Paper Series disseminates the findings of work in progress to encourage the exchange of ideas about development issues. An objective of the series is to get the findings out quickly, even if the presentations are less than fully polished. The papers carry the names of the authors and should be cited accordingly. The findings, interpretations, and conclusions expressed in this paper are entirely those of the authors. They do not necessarily represent the views of the International Bank for...

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