Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs


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La Follette Seminar: Experiential Financial Literacy

Wednesday, November 15, 2017, 12:30PM - 1:30PM
Location:  La Follette School Conference Room

Experiential Financial Literacy: A Field Study of the My Classroom Economy Program
Associate Professor J. Michael Collins, La Follette School of Public Affairs and UW–Madison School of Human Ecology; director, UW–Madison Center for Financial Security

This randomized field study by Associate Professor J. Michael Collins assesses the impact of a simulated classroom economy on fourth- and fifth-grade student’s financial knowledge and behavior. This entirely ‘learn by doing’ program improved financial knowledge and behaviors, and school administrative data show gains in learning in social studies and mathematics. This option for teaching financial capability with elementary school students is scalable in existing school systems without extensive teacher training.

Collins, the Fetzer Family Chair in Consumer and Personal Finance, is faculty director of the Center for Financial Security at UW–Madison. His work includes the study of financial capability with a focus on low-income families. He studies consumer decision-making in the financial marketplace, including the role of public policy in influencing credit, savings, and investment choices.

Collins is a faculty affiliate of UW–Madison’s Institute for Research on Poverty and Center for Demography and Ecology, and he directed the Social Security Administration Financial Literacy Research Consortium site at Wisconsin (2009-2012). He is involved in studies of mortgage foreclosure and family well-being supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, financial counseling supported by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and emergency savings policies for the C.S. Mott Foundation.

In 2016, Collins received a Vilas Associates Award from UW-Madison’s Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education for his project Financial Capabilities and Medication Persistence and Adherence: A Randomized Trial.


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