21 June 2022

A, B or C? Question Format and the Gender Gap in Financial Literacy

Maddalena Davoli, University of Frankfurt

Despite women’s and men’s convergence in many economic outcomes, women consistently display lower levels of financial literacy than men, a finding that is widespread across many countries and contexts (Hasler and Lusardi, 2017). To the extent that financial literacy is a driver of financial inclusions (Grohmann et al., 2018) and more savvy financial behaviors1 (Rooij et al., 2011; Lusardi and Mitchell, 2014, among others), it is a policy-relevant goal to understand the extent of women’s disadvantage in financial knowledge and the reasons behind it. Gender differences in financial literacy levels have been hard to explain, and scholars have not yet found a definitive answer (Lusardi and Mitchell, 2014), even though previous literature has explored factors such as marital status, educational levels, labor force participation, non-cognitive skills, and expectations (Arellano et al., 2018; Driva et al., 2016). What has not yet received much attention in the financial literacy gender gap literature is the way financial literacy is measured and how this may relate to the observed differential patterns across genders. This essay, based on a chapter of my PhD thesis, aims at filling this gap.

Read Maddalena’s essay A, B or C? Question Format and the Gender Gap in Financial Literacy.