Nudging Financial Literacy, Attitudes and Behaviours among Low Self-Control Young Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Abdul Jamal, Amer Azlan (2022). Nudging Financial Literacy, Attitudes and Behaviours among Low Self-Control Young Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

Text - Redacted Version
Available under License All rights reserved.

Download (10MB) | Preview


This study examines how financial education programs can improve financial literacy and nudge financial attitudes and behaviours of people with low self-control. This study is motivated by the rapid expansion of the finance sector which accelerates pressure on individuals to plan responsibly and manage their money effectively. Numerous governments and private organisations have taken steps to improve financial capabilities of households by providing access to financial education. However, to date, there are mixed evidence on the efficacy of the programs implemented on financial literacy, attitudes and behaviours, where most of the results were predominantly correlational and do not support causal inferences. Additionally, studies that incorporate individuals’ cognitive biases remain limited and little is known about the mechanisms that can help people with low self-control to execute intentions and achieve desired behaviours. Rather than relying on financial education programs alone, prior studies therefore suggest the use of “nudges” to assist people to make better decisions. Therefore, this study asked whether 1) financial education programs can affect the level of financial literacy, attitudes and behaviours; 2) SMS reminders can lead to attitude and behaviour change if sent as value-added to a financial education program.

In order to answer these questions, this study used a “pre-test-post-test between-group” experimental design. A group of 162 university students in Malaysia with lower-than-average self-control scores were randomly split into three groups. One received a classroom financial education program only, one received the program and a series of SMS reminders, and one received no intervention at all. The study, therefore, explored the effectiveness and impact of these treatments towards improving financial literacy, attitudes and behaviour in three areas, namely savings, budgeting and money management.

The results of the experiment demonstrated that the financial education program had an effect on improving financial literacy, particularly in terms of basic knowledge. However, questions that required more practical experiences saw little improvement post-intervention. Furthermore, the study found that the addition of frequent SMS reminders resulted in increased attitudinal and behavioral impacts, particularly on saving for emergency, comparing prices, paying bills on time and sticking to budgeting plan. Given the improved behaviors as a result of frequent SMS reminders, such self-control mechanism could be embedded as part of national plan in promoting financial prudence by the government or any financial planning agencies.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
School or Department: School of Social Policy, Department of Social Policy, Sociology and Criminology
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology


Request a Correction Request a Correction
View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year