Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Business Administration

First Advisor

Dr. Xiaojing Sheng

Second Advisor

Dr. A. Fuat Fırat

Third Advisor

Dr. Reto Felix


Financial literacy, or the ability to process economic information and make informed decisions about financial planning, wealth accumulation, debt, and pensions, has been linked to beneficial financial behaviors that support financial well-being. Despite these benefits, consumers tend to underperform in financial literacy tests with women generally faring worse than men. This dissertation draws from gender roles literature and Expectancy-Value Theory to examine how, why, and when traditional attitudes regarding societal gender roles (i.e., gender role ideology) hinder women’s financial literacy and willingness to acquire financial knowledge. Moreover, it examines how financial literacy and willingness to acquire financial knowledge influence expectations of future financial security. I conduct two studies among adult women in the U.S. Study 1 consists of an online survey administered to 154 participants and employs covariance-based structural equation modelling to analyze the data. Results show that traditional gender role ideology is negatively related to financial literacy. This relationship is stronger among women who are more likely to identify with typically masculine psychological traits, such as being assertive or possessing leadership abilities. Additionally, willingness to acquire knowledge is positively related to expectations of future financial security. Study 2 consists of a between-subjects scenario-based experiment that primes traditional and egalitarian gender role ideology to further understand its influence on willingness to acquire financial knowledge, financial literacy, subjective value attached to financial matters, and financial self-efficacy. The scenarios were randomly shown to 137 participants. I use analyses of variance and independent sample t-tests to examine the mean differences between conditions. Results reveal that participants in the traditional condition report higher financial self-efficacy compared to participants in the egalitarian condition. This dissertation contributes to theory and consumer research in the financial literacy gender gap stream by identifying traditional gender role ideology as an antecedent to women’s low financial literacy scores, and masculine gender identity as a boundary condition for this relationship. Additionally, it contributes to practice by providing public and private actors with psychographic segmentation characteristics relevant for targeting efforts. Stakeholders interested in increasing financial literacy may need to narrow on consumer clusters that hold traditional gender role attitudes.


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