The long-term impact of high-school financial education: Evidence from Spain

Last registered on December 10, 2020


Trial Information

General Information

The long-term impact of high-school financial education: Evidence from Spain
Initial registration date
December 10, 2020

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
December 10, 2020, 6:37 PM EST

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.



Primary Investigator

Banco de España

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Banco de España
PI Affiliation
Banco de España
PI Affiliation
Banco de España

Additional Trial Information

On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
In recent decades, many financial education programs have been implemented in schools across many countries. These programs are an effort to increase the persistently low financial literacy levels among the population, and better prepare them for making adult financial decisions. While there is a large literature about the short-run impacts of financial education, (Kaiser, Lusardi, Menkhoff, and Urban 2020) there is less evidence of its impacts in the longer run. That is, when individuals start making more and more financial decisions on a day to day basis, and they make one of the most important financial decisions in their lives: which level of human capital to acquire. We fill this gap by extending Bover, Hospido and Villanueva (2020) causal analysis of a financial education training course implemented in secondary education. The authors find positive short-term effects on financial literacy and an increase in patience in both hypothetical saving choices and in an incentivized saving task. We complement this study by following participants after five years of this program. This allows us to test whether financial education impacts persist over time in financial literacy, but also whether it impacts other outcomes such as financial attitudes, patience, intertemporal decision making, financial inclusion, and earnings and employment expectations. Furthermore, we can study the financial education impact in education choices and provide insights on how those decisions vary with responses to the mentioned outcomes.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Bover, Olympia et al. 2020. "The long-term impact of high-school financial education: Evidence from Spain." AEA RCT Registry. December 10.
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Experimental Details


Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Financial literacy,
general financial competences,
inconsistent choices,
educational choice
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
1. Financial literacy: measured by a total standardized score of correct answers on financial literacy module.
2. General financial competences: measured by financial product familiarity, ownership (number of financial products owned, not relying on cash as the only means of saving, having a bank account), and digital inclusion (i.e., using digital means to complete transactions and/or access bank accounts).
3. Patience: measured by hypothetical saving choices, own patience preference assessments, and choosing later payment choices from an incentivized convex time budget task.
4. Inconsistent choices in the saving task: number of inconsistent choices and split by type: (1) present bias, (2) split the payment into two periods when the interest rate is 0, (3) prefer higher earlier payments as interest rate increases in incentivized convex set task.
5. Educational choice: measured by the level of education, and educational choice in association to expected earnings, and other primary outcomes.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Financial literacy by area,
self-perceived financial literacy level,
self-perceived own household finances knowledge,
financial product acquisition process,
propensity to donate money
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Financial literacy by area (inflation, simplest interest rate, compound interest rate)
Financial product acquisition process measures (1) how product is chosen, (2) What sources of information help determine choice

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
This project builds on the educational program that started during the academic year 2012-13, when the plan "Finance for all" was launched by the Banco de España and the CNMV to improve financial population among the population. One of the interventions of this program provided basic financial literacy training in Spanish secondary school through an RCT, implemented in 2014-15. This project will study the long-run impacts of this specific intervention, measured by its impacts on financial knowledge, choices, expectations, and educational choices.
As part of the intervention, financial education training was delivered for the first time to students in 9th grade (called Tercero de la ESO in the Spanish schooling system) attending 77 school centers (of the original number of 78 schools participating, one dropped out). The experimental design provided two control groups: the 9th graders receiving financial literacy training later in the school year, and 10th graders (called Cuarto de la ESO in the Spanish schooling system) who did not receive this training but were also surveyed and tested. The current project continues this intervention by surveying participants after five years since financial education training took place. We study its long-run impacts by comparing 9th grader program participants (treated group) to 10th-grade students at the time of the program.
In this project, we survey knowledge in financial literacy, educational choices, labor experience, earning expectations. We also implement an incentivized convex budget set task following Andreoni and Sprenger (2012), Alan and Ertac (2018), Luhrmann, Serra-Garcia, Winter (2018), among others. Given the current pandemic, we also survey each current household situation and public policy assistance receipt.
The survey is implemented through Computer Assisted Telephone and Web Interviewing (CATI and CAWI) by IMOP Insights S.A. IMOP Insights S.A. is the private independent firm that also implemented the financial literacy tests during the academic year 2014-2015.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
The financial literacy course was implemented following a stratified school design of the allocation to treatment and control. Schools applied to this program in several rounds. The randomization was done within application round, type of school (public, private or concerted) and on whether the school was in Madrid or not. The latter rounds instead were stratified on stated preference for the course that the solicitant intended to give the course. The program was implemented through a phased-in randomization design, as for institutional reasons, all schools in the sample should offer the course. The 9th graders in treated schools received the materials first, between January and March 2015, whereas the 9th graders in control groups went through the course later between April and June 2015. In each school, a class of 10th graders was also surveyed as an additional control group. This is because 10th graders did not receive the course.
The current survey considers all 9th grader participants as treated and the group of 10th graders as the control group.
Randomization Unit
school unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
The sample consists of participants that attended 9th or 10th grade in each of the 77 school centers during the 2014-15 school year.
Sample size: planned number of observations
The initial sample size in the school year 2014-15 was over 5,099 students. In the long-term survey analysis, we expect a sample of approximately 1,250 participants. IMOP Insights S.A., the firm that implements the survey committed to achieving a survey completion rate of 70%, and we have a list of 1,790 students whose family gave consent to be contacted again.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
The initial intervention had 3,335 students in 9th grade. That is 1,347 treated between January and March, and 1,988 treated between April-June, and 1,764 students in 10th grade. Families of 1,790 students (1,296 in 9th grade and 494 in 10th grade) gave their consent for the follow-up. In the long-term follow-up survey, we expect 908 students from 9th grade (treated participants) and 345 from our control group.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Supporting Documents and Materials


Document Name
Survey questions
Document Type
Document Description
This document presents the follow-up survey questions implemented in 2020
Survey questions

MD5: 25152264b37f372a99f7637eb8e37518

SHA1: bd732d35c9cf6ffc25c55e7eaf6bcbd65ad1c6f8

Uploaded At: December 10, 2020


Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

Analysis Plan Documents


MD5: 766216b1512b59ecc3a399d40b6e0dfd

SHA1: 9e58ff2e67df5ce91450bee5c267d54a65bc751c

Uploaded At: December 10, 2020


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