IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/soceco/v41y2012i5p677-690.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Implications of behavioural economics for financial literacy and public policy

Author

Listed:
  • Altman, Morris

Abstract

This paper summarizes and highlights different methodological approaches to behavioural economics in the context of the conventional economic wisdom and the implications of these different methodological approaches for financial literacy, related institutional change, and public policy. Conventional economics predicts no substantive improvement from improvements to financial literacy. The errors and biases approach to behavioural economics suggests limited improvements to decision making from financial education as errors and biases are largely hardwired in the brain. Government and expert intervention affecting individual choice behaviour is recommended. The evidence suggests that the bounded rationality approach to behavioural economics, with its focus on smart decision makers and the importance institutional and environment constraints on decision making, is the most promising lense through which to analyse financial decision making. From this perspective, financial decision making can be improved by providing decision makers with better quality information presented in a non-complex fashion, an institutional environment conducive to good decisions, an incentive structure that internalize externalities involved in financial decision making, and financial education that will facilitate making the best use of the information at hand within a specific decision-making environment.

Suggested Citation

  • Altman, Morris, 2012. "Implications of behavioural economics for financial literacy and public policy," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 41(5), pages 677-690.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:soceco:v:41:y:2012:i:5:p:677-690
    DOI: 10.1016/j.socec.2012.06.002
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1053535712000868
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Oecd, 2006. "Improving Financial Literacy: Analysis of Issues and Policies," Financial Market Trends, OECD Publishing, vol. 2005(2), pages 111-123.
    2. Janet Landa, 2008. "The bioeconomics of homogeneous middleman groups as adaptive units: Theory and empirical evidence viewed from a group selection framework," Journal of Bioeconomics, Springer, vol. 10(3), pages 259-278, December.
    3. Cass R. Sunstein & Richard H. Thaler, 2003. "Libertarian paternalism is not an oxymoron," Conference Series ; [Proceedings], Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, vol. 48(Jun).
    4. Greif, Avner, 1989. "Reputation and Coalitions in Medieval Trade: Evidence on the Maghribi Traders," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(04), pages 857-882, December.
    5. Robert Sugden, 2009. "On Nudging: A Review of Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein," International Journal of the Economics of Business, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(3), pages 365-373.
    6. Simon, Herbert A, 1978. "Rationality as Process and as Product of Thought," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 68(2), pages 1-16, May.
    7. Vernon L. Smith, 2003. "Constructivist and Ecological Rationality in Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 465-508, June.
    8. Richard H. Thaler & Cass R. Sunstein, 2003. "Libertarian Paternalism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 175-179, May.
    9. George A. Akerlof, 2009. "How Human Psychology Drives the Economy and Why It Matters," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1175-1175.
    10. Shlomo Benartzi & Richard Thaler, 2007. "Heuristics and Biases in Retirement Savings Behavior," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(3), pages 81-104, Summer.
    11. Daniel Kahneman, 2003. "Maps of Bounded Rationality: Psychology for Behavioral Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(5), pages 1449-1475, December.
    12. Smith, Vernon L., 2005. "Behavioral economics research and the foundations of economics," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 135-150, March.
    13. Robert Sugden, 2008. "Why incoherent preferences do not justify paternalism," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 19(3), pages 226-248, September.
    14. James G. March, 1978. "Bounded Rationality, Ambiguity, and the Engineering of Choice," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 9(2), pages 587-608, Autumn.
    15. Thaler, Richard, 1980. "Toward a positive theory of consumer choice," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 39-60, March.
    16. Todd, Peter M. & Gigerenzer, Gerd, 2003. "Bounding rationality to the world," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 143-165, April.
    17. Marianne A. Hilgert & Jeanne M. Hogarth & Sondra G. Beverly, 2003. "Household financial management: the connection between knowledge and behavior," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Jul, pages 309-322.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. repec:taf:oaefxx:v:3:y:2015:i:1:p:1057923 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Nicolas Sirven & Thomas Barnay, 2017. "Expectations, loss aversion and retirement decisions in the context of the 2009 crisis in Europe," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 38(1), pages 25-44, April.
    3. repec:zbw:econso:175573 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Geert Van Campenhout, 2015. "Revaluing the Role of Parents as Financial Socialization Agents in Youth Financial Literacy Programs," Journal of Consumer Affairs, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(1), pages 186-222, March.
    5. Schicks, Jessica, 2014. "Over-Indebtedness in Microfinance – An Empirical Analysis of Related Factors on the Borrower Level," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 301-324.
    6. Nosi, Costanza & D’Agostino, Antonella & Maria Pagliuca, Margherita & Alberto Pratesi, Carlo, 2014. "Saving for old age: Longevity annuity buying intention of Italian young adults," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 85-98.
    7. Shen, Chung-Hua & Lin, Shih-Jie & Tang, De-Piao & Hsiao, Yu-Jen, 2016. "The relationship between financial disputes and financial literacy," Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 46-65.
    8. Tomasz Potocki, 2012. "Cumulative Prospect Theory as a model of economic rationality," Ekonomia journal, Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw, vol. 31.
    9. Margherita Fort & Francesco Manaresi & Serena Trucchi, 2016. "Adult financial literacy and households’ financial assets: the role of bank information policies," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 31(88), pages 743-782.
    10. Philip Kostov & Thankom Arun & Samuel Annim, 2014. "Financial Services to the Unbanked: the case of the Mzansi intervention in South Africa," Contemporary Economics, University of Finance and Management in Warsaw, vol. 8(2), June.
    11. Paramonovs Sergejs & Ijevleva Ksenija, 2015. "The Role of Marketing Tools in the Improvement of Consumers Financial Literacy," Economics and Business, De Gruyter Open, vol. 27(1), pages 40-45, August.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Financial literacy; Behavioural economics; Imperfect information; Heuristics; Trust; Nudging; Decision-making environment; Ecological rationality;

    JEL classification:

    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • B21 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Microeconomics
    • B31 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought: Individuals - - - Individuals
    • B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology
    • B52 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - Historical; Institutional; Evolutionary
    • D00 - Microeconomics - - General - - - General
    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • D18 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Protection
    • D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • G02 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Behavioral Finance: Underlying Principles
    • G2 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services
    • K0 - Law and Economics - - General
    • P1 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:soceco:v:41:y:2012:i:5:p:677-690. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/620175 .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.