HOW TO TEACH BIG ECONOMIC CRISIS (FINANCIAL AND NOW PANDEMIC) IN HIGH SCHOOLS. A CASE STUDY
University of Padua, Italy
The economic crisis is a difficult, and quite rare, topic of teaching in the high school. Up to financial crisis occurred in 2007/2008, the only relevant case was the Great Depression. The Great Recession changed this situation and a new interest emerged in the analysis of the causes and consequences of financial economic crisis. The pandemic situation is posing new and dramatic issues.
In period 2012-2015 the Fondazione Cariparo in Padua (Italy) financed my project of economic education entitled “Understanding financial crisis: the Great Depression versus the Great Recession”. The audience was the final classes of the high schools. I had the opportunity to offer two conference to each class. The aim of the project was to evaluate and foster the financial literary of the students. The project involved 15 classes of very different kind of schools every years.
The contribution tries to explain the main results of this articulated and complex experience of teaching financial crises, and it helps to understand the problems in the field of teaching financial education.
In summary we can say that:
a) the financial culture of high school students is modest but there is great curiosity about these issues;
b) students have a very modest statistical preparation, including those in scientific high schools;
c) the financial problem is part of wider methodological problem of choices under uncertainty;
d) financial education should be part of a broader economic education ;
e) specific conferences on financial education can be a useful tool because they integrate financial literacy with of a wider cultural view of the economic and social problems.
OUT OF THE DEBT TRAP. THE FINANCIAL CAPABILITIES AGAINST FINANCIAL ABUSES
This article explains that the absence and low levels of financial literacy and awareness prevent consumers and entrepreneurs from fully satisfying their consumption and investment needs and, more generally, prevent them from realising their life projects by constricting them into the “debt traps”.
Therefore, consistent with the capability approach (Sen, 1993, 1995), financial literacy is considered, first and foremost, an indispensable part of the general endowment of “functionings” to reach well-being.
The paper also stresses the importance of combating financial illiteracy to counter the spread of illegal finance. Once again, as far as Senius' theory is concerned, the spread of illicit finance should be interpreted as an external condition unfavourable to the diffusion of the “capabilities” supporting households and entrepreneurs' financial choices.
Unfortunately, during the current pandemic, loan-sharking, usury, and other criminal finance crimes have spread dramatically. Especially in the most fragile socio-economic contexts, where, moreover, organised criminal groups are stronger and more deeply rooted, and unfortunately, needy families and entrepreneurs stay in these “debt traps”.
Finally, the paper indicates possible new initiatives that would increase financial literacy as a capacity-building tool following the Edufin Committee of 2020 and the OECD Recommendation 2020. It could increase financial resilience, conscious consumption, and active citizenship and democratic opposition to financial abuse and crime.
SPECIAL EDUCATION AND ECONOMY: NEW SCENARIOS FOR THE LIFE PROJECT OF PEOPLE WITH AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS AND THEIR CAREGIVERS
University of Macerata, Italy
This chapter deals with the delicate issue of taking charge of families with children with disabilities, focusing on the delicate transition phase defined as Dopo di Noi (“After Us”) and the criticalities of the current social welfare. The authors are arguing about the pedagogical and economic criticalities this period is living with it and they are focusing on the planning value: this planning is conceived over time and in time and is oriented to the Quality of Life of people with disabilities and their caregivers and, therefore, a new Welfare State. Among different proposals, the step from Durante Noi (“During Us”) to Dopo di Noi (“After Us”) becomes important thanks to the creation of an Integrated Training System, which sees the people themselves and their ability to choose at the centre.
THE ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL LITTERACY OF FUTURE TEACHERS: A CLUSTER ANALYSIS
Università degli Studi del Molise, Italia
Since it is not possible to think to a process of financial literacy of younger generations without the direct involvement of the formal education system (Refrigeri, 2020), this research aims at assessing the levels of financial literacy of future kindergarten’s and primary school’s teachers, that are now university students.
The survey on the economic and financial literacy of students was carried out with the involvement of ten egree courses in Primary Education of as many Italian universities and has seen the participation of 2,321 students, representing 7.21% of the total student population of Primary Education enrolled in Italian public and private universities, which amounts to 32,180 students.
For data collection, a questionnaire structured in two sections was prepared: the first, aimed at collecting the individual characteristics of the participants; the second, consisting of a test of 10 questions constructed to detect their economic and financial knowledge.
To analyze the data, we used a cluster analysis, typically conducted in three steps. Initially, the grouping criteria were identified, i.e. the variables to be used to group the subjects. Then the distance measure is defined to calculate the closeness (or similarity) between the students in terms of the selected variables. Finally, a group construction algorithm is adopted to assign each individual to a group, in order to maximize homogeneity within groups and heterogeneity between groups.
In our case, students were grouped on the basis of variables selected from four sets of individual characteristics: demographic characteristics, education levels, using of financial instruments, knowledge of economic and financial literacy, with the addition of the score obtained in solving the questions of the economic and financial test.
For the second step, the common practice of using Euclidean distance was followed: the greater the distance, the less similar the students. Finally, the Ward’s (1963) agglomerative hierarchical classification on standardized variables and Euclidean distances was adopted. The number of clusters was defined using the index of Duda et al. (2001), with the associated pseudo-T-square method and the pseudo-F index developed by Calinski and Harabasz (1974).
The results obtained with the cluster analysis allow to highlight five profiles of students, useful to set a policy on economic and financial education of future teachers more informed and targeted.
Refrigeri L. (2020), L’educazione finanziaria Il far di conto del XXI Secolo, Lecce: Media MultiPensa Editore
Duda, R.O., Hart P.E., and Stork D.G. (2001). Pattern Classification, 2nd ed., New York: Wiley.
Calinski, T., and Harabasz J. (1974), A dendrite method for cluster analysis, Communications in Statistics, 3: 1–27
Ward J.H. (1963). Hierarchical Grouping to Optimize an Objective Function. Journal of the American Statistical Association, 58: 236–244
THE ROLE OF PEDAGOGY IN BUILDING ECONOMIC CITIZENSHIP FROM CHILDHOOD TO OLD AGE
Università Bolzano, Italia
In contemporary society we are, once again, going through a historical moment in which crisis, declining consumption, indebtedness, families in difficulty, etc., are perhaps the most spoken and written words in the news and in everyday life. It appears, therefore, urgent that pedagogy addresses issues and situations for a long time considered prerogatives of other disciplines, in order to tackle the educational aspect to them reportedly, and to "educate to the future" in every situation and age. The pedagogy should address the development of economic competence, considered as one of the spheres of life aimed at the design of well-being, which is also built through learning.
The relationship between pedagogy and economy has always been complex and unresolved: difficulty of culture of education in dialoguing with the economic sciences has led pedagogy to neglect this issue, leaving pedagogical topics into economy to other sciences. Understanding economy is fundamental to know and govern some of the dynamics of today's society and, therefore, economy must be part of education, in view of active citizenship.
Economic education has become an important aspect of the education of citizens and is globally recognized as an essential element of stability and socio-cultural development. It also allows considering the future as a controllable time frame, though not always predictable, thanking to greater critical skills acquired from an early age.
Economic education, as process intentionally aimed at providing knowledge and skills related to management of money, constitutes a part of culture of citizenship, that allows citizens to become aware agents during their economic and social life. Final objective of economic education, starting with financial literacy, should therefore be promotion, in families and at school, of planning ability, recognizing nature of money as means and not as an aim for the promotion of personal and collective well-being.
WHY DON’T WOMEN KNIT THEIR PORTFOLIO? GENDER AND THE LANGUAGE OF INVESTOR COMMUNICATION
Università di Torino, Italy
This paper investigates whether (lack of) familiarity with the language of investor communication may explain the well-documented gender gap in financial decision-making. Economists have demonstrated that men and women exhibit different financial behavior. Women are less involved in the stock market than men, and if they are, they take fewer risks. This gender gap in financial decision-making is generally explained by differences in risk tolerance (i.e., women are more risk averse than men) and financial literacy (i.e., women are less financially literate than men).
A pivotal concept for this paper is that of familiarity (Huberman 2001), which has been extensively used to explain apparent paradoxes in people's financial behavior, such as the so-called home bias in portfolio choices. Using an interdisciplinary framework that combines insights from Behavioral Economics and Finance, and Cognitive Linguistics, this paper applies the concept of familiarity to the language of investor communication. By analyzing the conceptual metaphors used in two websites targeting unexperienced investors in Italian and English, the paper finds that the metaphors used come from the same conceptual domains; namely, war, health, physical activity, game, farming, and the five senses. As these domains refer to worlds that are predominantly and (stereo)typically masculine, the study concludes that the language of investor communication may give rise to feelings of familiarity and belonging among men, while creating feelings of distance and non-belonging among women. In other words, this paper suggests that gaps in risk attitudes and financial literacy may be only a partial explanation of the gender gap in financial decision-making. Thus, it proposes a complementary explanation focusing on the degree to which men and women identify with (i.e., they are familiar with) the language used in investor communication.
Why don’t women “knit” their portfolio? This is quite obviously a provocative question. The objective is not to turn the language of investor communication into a language which is (stereo)typically feminine. However, a language change would help giving women easier access to financial markets and create more equal opportunities. This is of fundamental importance in a world in which labor market participation of women increases, and women (need to) rely more and more on themselves in making short and long-term financial decisions.
- Baker, H.K. & Ricciardi, V. (eds). 2014. Investor Behavior: The Psychology of Financial Planning and Investing. Hoboken (NJ): Wiley.
- Charteris-Black, Jonathan. 2004. Corpus Approaches to Critical Metaphor Analysis. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
- Chen, Keith. 2013. The Effect of Language on Economic Behavior: Evidence from Saving Rates, Health Behaviors, and Retirement Assets. American Economic Review. 103 (2): 690-731.
- Huberman, Gur. 2001. Familiarity Breeds Investment, Review of Financial Studies 14 (3): 659-680.
- Lakoff, G. & Johnson, M. 1980. Metaphors We Live By. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
- Luporini, A. 2019. Metaphor in Times od Economic Change. Rome: Aracne.