Financial literacy, education, and voter turnout

by Anna Lo Prete; CeRP WP 206/21

Abstract. This work studies the long-run association between political participation and different levels and types of education across countries, with a special focus on financial literacy. In a sample of advanced and developing countries observed over the period 1990-2014,
financial literacy increases citizens’ participation to political life. The results hold applying linear and instrumental variables techniques, and in panel regressions that characterize the medium-term determinants of voter turnout. The nexus between education at school and voter turnout is not as robust both in the long-term and in the medium-term. One interpretation is that school education is arguably related to the development of civic skills. However, these skills alone might not be as powerful to spur civic engagement, and in turn electoral participation, as those skills needed to gauge the contents of policies and policy agendas that indicators of financial literacy capture.

Published: March 2021