C. Varum, I. Silva, V. Afreixo

University of Aveiro (PORTUGAL)
It seems consensual that the recent crisis has reinforced the importance of being economically literate and of the need of having a solid understanding of the functioning of the economic activity. Economic literacy can be viewed as the type of knowledge required to control a set of tasks related to economic issues that everyone who is economically literate might know. It becomes clear tough that to improve economic literacy, economic education is the right path to shift in. It has been argued that the best way to promote a society of financially and economically literate adults is to educate children.
There are however doubts about children interest and capacity to understand economic principles. Against this background, a few authors argue that children are indeed able to understand economics, providing evidences about the efficacy of educational programs on economics and finance to children (Kourilsky 1977; Laney 1988; Hawthorne, Rodgers, and Wheeler 2003). Along with Hawthorne et al. (2003) for example, several authors defend that early instruction in economic principles and financial skills on the primary grade-level adapted to students' needs might provide children with a solid understanding of economics, by exposing them to economic conceptions and moreover by providing them the skills to apply the knowledge acquired in the economic lessons. This paper contributes to improve knowledge on this field of research. This paper addresses two research issues: the efficiency of economic programs applied to children, and which factors affect children's test scores in economics.
In this regard, a questionnaire was developed and the level and difference of economic knowledge were compared, using a control group of children who received economic instruction and other group who did not. The results confirm the efficiency of the economic program, and the role of socioeconomic variables.
keywords: economics, children.