International research and evaluation

Highlights of international financial literacy research and evaluation

A selection of financial literacy research and evaluation reports from countries outside Australia.

International research and evaluation

2016 OECD/INFE International Survey of Adult Financial Literacy Competencies
October 2016
This report presents the findings of a survey of adult financial literacy competencies of 30 countries and economies, drawn from Africa, Asia, Europe, Australasia, North America and South America, using the OECD/INFE toolkit. These high-level results cover aspects of financial knowledge, behaviour, attitudes and inclusion.
  OECD/INFE Core Competencies Framework on Financial Literacy for Adults
September 2016
This report presents a flexible, outcome-based, core competencies framework for financial literacy for adults. It describes types of knowledge, capability and the behaviours that may help achieve financial well-being, as well as the attitudes and confidence that will support this process. It can be used to inform financial education policy, improve program design, identify gaps in provision, and create assessment, measurement and evaluation tools.
  Building blocks to help youth obtain financial capability
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)
September 2016
'How', 'when', and 'where' do young people learn and develop the building blocks of financial capability? This report provides a new evidence-based framework to assist in the development, testing, refinement and evaluation of programs and financial education strategies; identify age-appropriate financial capability milestones; and inform financial education policy.
  Young Adults' Financial Capability
The Money Advice Service (UK)
September 2016
This report builds on the 2015 UK Financial Capability Survey, doing a 'deep dive' into data from respondents aged 18 to 24. It explores the 'young adult' lifestage in the Financial Capability Strategy Framework, to better understand the ability of young adults in managing day-to-day finances, planning ahead and negotiating financial difficulties.
  Access to financial services in the UK
Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
May 2016
This occasional paper identifies barriers that can exist for consumers trying to access financial services, as well as what 'good' might look like. It seeks to stimulate ideas and solutions to foster a culture of access and inclusion throughout retail financial services.
  The role of financial literacy in financial decisions and retirement preparedness among seniors and near-seniors
Social Research and Demonstration Corporation (SRDC) for the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada
May 2016
This study builds on the 2014 Canadian Financial Capability Survey, examining data from working-aged respondents (25-64). It explores links between an objective measure of financial knowledge, a subjective measure of financial confidence, and a range of financial outcomes in relation to day-to-day money and debt management, planning and saving.
  The link between financial confidence and financial outcomes among working-aged Canadians
Social Research and Demonstration Corporation (SRDC) for the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada
May 2016
This study builds on the 2014 Canadian Financial Capability Survey, examining data from seniors (65 and over) and near-seniors (55-64). It considers how knowledge and confidence are related to three domains of financial behaviour that are critical for retirement preparedness: money and debt management, future planning and savings, and best financial practices and protection measures.
  Using behavioural insights to improve financial capability
Financial Markets Authority (NZ)
April 2016
This white paper offers insights on ways to improve policy design and consumer protection regulation and supervision. It also challenges market participants to consider how to make consumer choices easier and more effective when they develop and distribute products.
2015 OECD/INFE Policy Handbook on National Strategies for Financial Education
November 2015
59 economies worldwide are implementing national strategies using guidance from the OECD/INFE High-level Principles on National Strategies for Financial Education. The handbook describes the experiences of these economies (including Australia) and addresses challenges that countries have faced in implementing the principles. It includes an analysis of relevant practices and case studies and identifies key lessons learnt.
  Financial Capability Strategy
UK Financial Capability Board (FCB) and The Money Advice Service
October 2015
The UK's 10-year Financial Capability Strategy aims to improve people's ability to manage money well day-to-day, prepare for and manage life events, and deal with financial difficulties. The Strategy focuses on developing people's financial skills and knowledge, as well as their attitudes and motivation, through every key life stage and challenge: children and young people, young adults, working age people, savings, retirement planning, older people, and people in financial difficulties. Progress will be monitored by a Financial Capability Survey and ongoing evaluation of specific interventions.
  Poverty Interrupted: Applying Behavioral Science to the Context of Chronic Scarcity
ideas42 (US)
May 2015
This report explores the issue of entrenched poverty and financial exclusion amongst people on low incomes in America, reframing it as not simply a deficit of financial capital, but also linked to absence of other forms of capital: human, social and health. It articulates how behavioural insights can deepen understanding of the importance of context and help build resilience.
  Understanding and Improving Consumer Financial Health in America
Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI)
March 2015
This research draws on extensive data collected through the CFSI's Consumer Financial Health Study conducted in 2014. The report explores the state of financial health in America, with a particular focus on consumers in the lower half of income distribution.
  Financial Wellbeing: the goal of financial education
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)
January 2015
This report provides a conceptual framework for defining and measuring success in financial education by delivering a proposed definition of financial well-being, and insight into the factors that contribute to it. The framework is informed by the existing literature, expert opinion, and in-depth qualitative research, comprising one-on-one interviews with working-age and older consumers.
  Evaluation of the Wainuiomata Sorted Workplace Programme: Final Report
Malatest International for the Commission for Financial Capability (CFFC) (NZ)
January 2015
This report presents an evaluation of an eight-week workplace financial literacy program, the Sorted Workplace programme, developed and piloted in Auckland by the CFFC. The program provided basic financial education through a series of workshops run by an external facilitator. By the end of the program, all participants had increased their knowledge and made changes to the ways they think about, plan, budget and manage their money.
  OECD/INFE Core Competencies Framework on Financial Literacy for Youth
This report presents a flexible, outcome-based, core competencies framework for financial literacy for young people. It describes the basic level of financial literacy likely to be needed by all young people between age 15 and 18 to fully and safely participate in economic and financial life, as well as more advanced competencies that may be needed to make decisions about more sophisticated financial products.
2014 Problem debt - A report commissioned by the Consumer Protection Partnership
Competition & Markets Authority (CMA)
October 2014
The Competition and Markets Authority (UK), on behalf of the Consumer Protection Partnership, reviewed how problem debt affects consumers' decisions and choices in the goods and services that they purchase, and whether UK consumer protection bodies should take additional action in this concerning area of consumer detriment. The report analyses research and projects carried out by over 150 organisations working in this area, highlighting 4 key areas of work that are central to tackling problem debt effectively. These are: supporting financial capability, providing early debt advice, undertaking further consumer behaviour research and pursuing enforcement and compliance.
  Strategic Framework for Investor Education and Financial Literacy - Final Report
October 2014
This report reflect IOSCO's recognition of the importance of financial education and its relevance to IOSCO's mandate. The report discusses IOSCO's strategic framework for investor education and financial literacy. Among other things, it discusses IOSCO members' current approach in this area. It also discusses the organisation's strategic approach, which includes identifying emerging issues and developing new and innovative approaches. 
  The Money Advice Service Debt Advice Review 2013-14
The Money Advice Service and Optimis Research
August 2014
The Money Advice Service has responsibility for the funding and co-ordination of debt advice services in the United Kingdom. In 2013-14, it funded the delivery of 150,000 debt advice sessions, primarily face to face, throughout England and Wales. A sample of 1,380 telephone interviews with clients were used to measure the effectiveness of advice received across pre-defined measures. These 15 areas of evaluation will form a basis for future comparison, both between different delivery projects/organisations and for tracking purposes over time. With positive outcomes for most clients overall, debt advice was found to be an effective option for those facing debt issues.
  Retail Investment Advice - Clarifying the boundaries and exploring the barriers to market development
Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
July 2014
This paper from the US Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) looks at the boundaries around what is and what is not a personal recommendation in relation to retail investments, and what scope there is for firms to provide a range of services in relation to those products. It summarises consumer research undertaken, clarifies the current regulatory landscape, and sets out the results of work done by the FCA examining new distribution models firms are using to sell retail investment products.
  The motivations, needs and drivers of non-advised investors: A qualitative research report
NMG Consulting on behalf of the FCA
July 2014
This qualitative research project, for the Financial Conduct Authority (US), sought to understand the non-advised consumer's experience of retail investments, exploring their motivations and needs through individual experiences and looking at the processes they went through and the rationales for the choices they made.
  Your Money, Your Goals: A financial empowerment toolkit for social services programs
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)
July 2014
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (US) released a comprehensive toolkit and resources designed to help people working in social services programs. The toolkit is intended to help clients become financially empowered consumers.
  PISA 2012 Results: Students and Money  - Country Note on Australia (Volume VI, July 2014)
July 2014
The PISA Country Note for Australia provides a short summary of the sixth volume of PISA 2012 results examining 15-year-old students' performance in financial literacy, with a particular focus on Australia's results and how this compares with other countries.
  PISA 2012 Results: Students and Money (Volume VI, July 2014)
July 2014
This sixth volume of PISA 2012 results examines 15-year-old students' performance in financial literacy in the 18 countries and economies that participated in this optional assessment. It also discusses the relationship of financial literacy to students' and their families' background and to students' mathematics and reading skills. The volume also explores students' access to money and their experience with financial matters. In addition, it provides an overview of the current status of financial education in schools and highlights relevant case studies.
  Financial Literacy Annual Report
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)
July 2014
The US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's Annual Financial Literacy Report covers progress made towards their national goal of educating and empowering consumers to make better informed financial decisions. Working side by side with other agencies and sectors, the Bureau launched a range of initiatives to provide consumers with information, resources, and opportunities to develop the knowledge and skills to manage their financial resources effectively and plan for future life events.
  FCA Consumer Credit Research: Payday Loans, Logbook Loans and Debt Management Services
Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
June 2014
This report, from the Financial Conduct Authority's Consumer Credit Research Programme (UK), sets out the consumer experience of payday loans and logbook loans, as well as the experience of debt management services, both fee‑charging and non‑fee‑charging. The project used qualitative, in-depth interviews to explore individual experiences.
  Financial Behavior, Debt, and Early Life Transitions: Insights from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, 1997 Cohort
Hodson & Dwyer (Ohio State University) for the National Endowment for Financial Education
June 2014
This US study follows the 1997 Cohort from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth to explore financial behavior, debt, and early life transitions among young adults coming of age in the 2000s. Analyses reveal how Millennials' life decisions are shaped by debt as they pursue multiple paths to adulthood. Ultimately, it finds that young adults' relationship with debt is complicated and reflects the fact that debt is a double-edge sword: Debt facilitates opportunity but can lead to emotional or financial strains and delay family formation.
  AMF Index of Financial Awareness in Quebec
Camille Beaudoin (Director Financial Education Department)
June 2014
The Autorite des marches financiers (AMF Quebec) is the integrated regulator of the Quebec financial sector. The 2014 AMF-Q Financial Awareness Index was developed by the Financial Education Department. The index was developed from online data collected in February 2014, among 1,500 respondents responsible for financial management. The index is based on respondent experience with the financial products or services in question.
  Strategic Framework for Investor Education and Financial Literacy
The Board of IOSCO
May 2014
This paper sets out a strategic framework for IOSCO's Committee on Retail Investors' primary mandate: its work in investor education and financial literacy. It describes IOSCO's role in investor education and financial literacy, the role of research, particularly the field of behavioural economics, and the committee's initial areas of focus and strategic approach to fulfilling its primary mandate. The paper also identifies practices currently used by member countries to help guide IOSCO members in developing and enhancing their own investor education and financial literacy programs
  Financial Capability of Young Adults - A Generational View
Gary R. Mottola, Ph.D., FINRA
March 2014
An examination of data from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation's National Financial Capability Study (State-by-State Survey) found that millennials are struggling financially. Millennials are less likely than the other generations to have a mortgage, but more likely to have student loans. Millennials are also much more likely to use newer forms of payment-including pre-paid debit cards and mobile payments. Millennials exhibit very low levels of financial literacy: only 24 percent can answer four or five questions correctly on a five-question financial literacy quiz.
  Money Lives: the financial behaviour of the UK
The Money Advice Service
March 2014
This report presents the findings of a longitudinal study into financial capability. It was commissioned by the Money Advice Service (UK) and conducted by independent research agency Ipsos MORI. Using a multi-staged, mixed-method approach, the study explored influences on people's money management, identified and pilot tested interventions based on those influences; and identified factors most likely to contribute to effective interventions. This report presents a behavioural framework that goes beyond how skills and knowledge affect an individual's approach towards their finances, to look at how opportunity, social opportunity, attitudes and motivations impact on behaviour.
  Enhancing Financial Capability and Behavior in Low- and Middle-Income Countries
Financial Literacy and Education Russia Trust Fund, Washington DC, World Bank Group
This report presents the results of pioneering research in 11 low- and middle-income countries. The research covers pilot projects conducted in a number of different settings, including schools. Interventions tested included use of diaries to increase financial awareness, innovative methods for information provision, and new ways to deliver messages that encourage safer financial behavior, such as feature films, TV soap operas and comic books.
  Financial literacy of secondary students, and its place within secondary schools
New Zealand Council for Educational Research for Commission for Financial Literacy and Retirement Income (NZ)
This study investigates the behaviours, attitudes and experiences of New Zealand secondary students with money and financial products, and the range of financial literacy teaching and programmes being taught in secondary schools. It also explores barriers to the implementation of financial literacy teaching.
2013 The Financial Capability of the UK
The Money Advice Service
November 2013
This report draws insights from a major longitudinal study (called Money Lives) into UK financial behaviour, and a large-scale quantitative survey that provides a benchmark for financial capability in the UK.
  Skilled for Life? Key Findings from the Survey of Adult Skills
October 2013
This report presents the key findings of an OECD survey on adult skills, focusing on adult competencies relating to literacy, numeracy and problem solving. 
  Advancing National Strategies for Financial Education
G20 Russia Presidency/OECD
September 2013
This joint report by the G20 Russia Presidency and the OECD presents several recommendations to advance national financial education, including the  establishment of clearer financial education mandates, and the assessment of financial literacy on an internationally comparable level.
  Financial Literacy and Financial Behavior Among Young Adults: Evidence and Implications
De Bassa Scheresberg, C. (Global Center for Financial Literacy)
July 2013
This paper uses data from the 2009 US National Financial Capability Study to examine financial literacy and financial behaviour in a sample of approximately 4,500 young adults aged 25 to 34. The paper finds that most young adults lack basic financial knowledge. Financial literacy is especially low among women, minorities, and lower-income or less-educated people.
  Financial Literacy and Credit Card Behaviours: A Cross-Sectional Analysis by Age
Allgood, S. and Walstad, W.
July 2013
This study uses a measure of financial literacy that includes both a test score of actual financial literacy and a self-rating of perceived financial literacy to investigate how financial literacy affects credit card behaviours. The research analyses credit card behaviours of a large nationally representative sample of US adults divided into groups to reflect the five major decades in the adult life cycle.
  Habit Formation and Learning in Young Children
The Money Advice Service (UK)
May 2013
This report provides insight and ideas about how to prepare the next generation to manage their money. It explores how cognitive and metacognitive processes emerge before age 7, enabling them to learn about the world and develop as learners; how growing self-awareness leads to self-regulation and  increased control of mental processing; key 'influences' in habit-of-mind formation, and how their effect is revealed through externalised behaviours; and evidence that mental processes and dispositions can be taught and practised, so that they become habitual ways of working.
2010 Money Guidance Pathfinder - Key Findings and Lessons Learned
Consumer Financial Education Body (CFEB), United Kingdom
July 2010
Findings from the £12m Money Guidance Pathfinder project. It targeted regions of England from April 2009 to March 2010, and was delivered through three channels: the Moneymadeclear website, a telephone helpline, and face-to-face sessions. This is a summary of two reports: the project evaluation report, and a summary of an independent evaluation of the Pathfinder marketing and engagement approach.
Transforming Financial Behaviour: Developing Interventions that Build Financial Capability
Consumer Financial Education Body (CFEB), United Kingdom
July 2010
A report on research into ten behaviour interventions and their effects as drivers of improved financial capability. It shows how psychology and sociology can be applied alongside more traditional policy interventions to foster behaviour change.
2008 Financial Capability: A Behavioural Economics Perspective
Prepared for the Financial Services Authority, United Kingdom, by David de Meza, Bernd Irlenbusch and Diane Reyniers, London School of Economics
July 2008
A review of behavioural economics literature on the likely impact of financial capability initiatives on behaviour.
2006 Levels of Financial Capability in the UK: Results of a Baseline Survey
Prepared for the Financial Services Authority (FSA), United Kingdom, by Adele Atkinson, Stephen McKay, Elaine Kempson and Sharon Collard, Personal Finance Research, University of Bristol
March 2006
The results of the FSA survey to measure levels of financial capability in the UK.
2005 Measuring Financial Capability: An Exploratory Study
Prepared for the Financial Services Authority (FSA), United Kingdom, by Personal Finance Research, University of Bristol
June 2005
The exploratory study by the FSA to design a questionnaire that could be used to measure levels of financial capability.

For more information on international research and other financial education developments, visit the OECD International Gateway for Financial Education (IGFE).

It explores how cognitive and metacognitive processes emerge before age 7, enabling them to learn about the world and develop as learners; how growing self-awareness leads to self-regulation and ability to take increased control of mental processing, including thinking, remembering and problem-solving; the key 'influences' in children's habit-of-mind formation, and how their effect is revealed through externalised behaviours; and evidence that mental processes and dispositions can be taught and practised, so that they become habitual ways of working.

Last updated: 27 Oct 2016