High School Economic Education and Access to Financial Services


  • Financial support for this project provided by an Excellence in Economic Education subgrant from the Council for Economic Education through funding from the United States Department of Education, Office of Innovation. The authors thank Jeri Mangum of the MSU College of Business, for financial oversight of this project, and Wolfgang Frese of the MSU Social Science Research Center's Survey Research Unit for oversight of the data collection. Finally, thanks to Marybeth Grimes for editorial assistance.


This study provides a long-term assessment of economic education by examining an individual's decision to have a bank account. Using the results of a nationwide telephone survey, high school courses in economics and business reduced the probability that an adult was unbanked, ceteris paribus. In addition, adults who demonstrated a higher level of understanding of basic economic concepts were less likely to be unbanked. The results indicated that an individual's understanding of the economic system was as important as formal coursework in explaining access to basic financial services.