The Quarter Century Project: 25 Years of Research in Financial Education

Financial literacy education has moved from being a largely private concern to a national public policy issue as it has become increasingly clear that individual financial decisions collectively affect the national economy. NEFE and project leader Dr. Tahira K. Hira designed the event to bring together leading financial education professionals nationwide to review 25 years of research within the field in order to:

  • Build consensus on what is already known
  • Discover what research gaps still exist
  • Strengthen the research capabilities of the personal finance community
  • Establish clearly defined research goals

The main goal of the NEFE Quarter Century Project is to increase the nation’s financial literacy through the improvement of financial education research.

Throughout the spring and summer of 2010, subject expert researchers worked collectively on four white papers, corresponding with four major themes in financial literacy. These four papers were presented to the financial literacy community prior to the Colloquium, held in Denver in August. Each theme leader also prepared a presentation and led a discussion on their paper. After taking into consideration discussion points and input from the larger audience, the papers were refined.

Executive Summary, detailing NEFE's research priorities:
The Quarter Century Project

Final Seminal Research Paper:
Implications for Researchers, Educators and Policy Makers from a Quarter Century of Financial Education

Theme 1: Promising Learning Strategies and Delivery Methods

What learning strategies, interventions, and delivery methods have been shown to work for various population segments? What are the trusted sources of information, and what approaches to financial literacy are not working?

Team Leader: Annamaria Lusardi
Team Members:  Robert Clark, Jonathon Fox, John Grable and Edward Taylor

Final Theme 1 Paper
Theme 1 Colloquium Presentation PowerPoint

Theme 2: Motivation and Behavior

What motivates someone to seek out information, learn, and then act on what they have learned, and what are the intrinsic and extrinsic motivators?

Team Leader: Jing Jian Xiao
Team Members: J. Michael Collins, Matthew Ford, Punam Keller, Jinhee Kim and Barbara Robles

Final Theme 2 Paper
Final Theme 2 Colloquium Presentation PowerPoint

Theme 3: Evaluation and Measurement

What are the best evaluative approaches that measure financial education efforts? What are the obstacles in conducting evaluations and what should be measured?

Team Leader: Lois A. Vitt
Team Members: Sharon Danes, Jeanne Hogarth, Barbara O'Neill, John Tatom and William Walstad

Final Theme 3 Paper
Final Theme 3 Colloquium Presentation PowerPoint

Theme 4: Consumer Trends and New Opportunities

What are the emerging trends, new opportunities, and what is promising in the field of financial education? What is the impact of public policy on Americans’ financial behaviors and what policy changes are needed and why?

Team Leader: John Gannon
Team Members: Ray Boshara, Lewis Mandell, John Phillips and Steve Sass

Final Theme 4 Paper
Final Theme 4 Colloquium Presentation PowerPoint