What is economic literacy?

At Economy we believe economics is for everyone precisely because it affects everyone. Economics is at the centre of public debate on everything from healthcare, to immigration, to the arts. Having the knowledge and confidence to engage in conversation about the economy is an essential skill for life. We call this economic literacy. 

Being able to talk about the economy is important. It affects all of our futures. But, at the moment, that’s not happening.

  • During the 2017 General Election only 34% of people felt information about the economy in the media around election time was useful enough to make an informed voting choice.
  • A 2018 poll by YouGov and The Economics Network found that 60% of us identify as having had no access to economics education at all
  • The same poll found that 55% of Leave voters in the EU referendum felt that economists in the debate before the referendum had based their comments on “mainly personal…[and]…political opinions and affiliations”

Why is this a problem?

Widespread economic literacy – economic literacy for everyone – is valuable for individuals and for societies. As individuals, we can use this foundational knowledge to inform many important decisions in life, increasing and exercising our agency. For societies, economic literacy is a foundation for democracy and healthy public debate about our collective future.

What are we doing about it?

Since Economy was founded in 2015, we’ve travelled up and down the country, delivered courses and workshops in schools and to adults from marginalised communities, made films, launched a news and entertainment platform and worked with politicians and the media to improve their communication of economic ideas.

Now we are reaching out to teachers, schools, businesses, politicians and citizens and to ask you to join us in our work to make economic literacy for everyone.

We believe that by giving more people the knowledge and confidence to engage with economic debates, announcements and ideas, economic literacy could play a role in changing the diversity of our democratic institutions and bringing new minds, imaginations and experiences into economics.

We have learned a huge amount about how to reimagine economics as a conversation everyone can be part of. So we created a report, The Case for Economic Literacy for Everyone, where we lay out what we have learned so far and where we would like to go next.

We hope this report will provoke, inspire, and excite you, prompting you to work with us to expand access to economics education.

As the next generation of economists and citizens we are keenly aware that, in a world of rapid and profound economic change, we urgently need to increase economic literacy to empower all citizens to take part in the conversation about our future.

Here’s where you can sign up to help! Join our literacy mailing list