What Explains the Gender Gap in Financial Literacy?

The Role of Household Decision-Making

Published in: Journal of Consumer Affairs, v. 46, no. 1, Spring 2012, p. 90-106

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2012

by Raquel Fonseca Benito, Kathleen J. Mullen, Gema Zamarro, Julie Zissimopoulos

Read More

Access further information on this document at onlinelibrary.wiley.com

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

Using newly collected data from the RAND American Life Panel, we examine potential explanations for the gender gap in financial literacy, including the role of marriage and who within a couple makes the financial decisions. Blinder–Oaxaca decomposition reveals the majority of the gender gap in financial literacy is not explained by differences in the characteristics of men and women—but rather differences in coefficients, or how literacy is produced. We find that financial decision making of couples is not centralized in one spouse although it is sensitive to the relative education level of spouses.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation external publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.