Errare humanum est: Financial Literacy in European Consumer Credit Law
Examples of financial mistakes made by consumers lend support to the view that systematic mistakes of consumers exist in the EU credit market and that service providers respond strategically to these by redesigning their products. This paper seeks to determine how existing regulation can be improved to ensure consumer protection. Using insights from behavioural economics, this paper argues that financial literacy—that is, knowledge and understanding of complex financial products and skills to navigate the financial market—as a cornerstone for European financial consumer law is problematic. Current regulation is based primarily on information provision to consumers, which should enable them to make appropriate decisions about the risks and suitability of financial products. Although behavioural economics does not necessarily require legal intervention to take other forms than the introduction of information duties, the type of intervention is dependent on the design and needs of a particular market. The EU consumer credit market, in our view, demands more than the current regulation offers in terms of consumer protection. In particular, behavioural studies reveal that consumers generally do not have a sufficient level of financial literacy in order to enable them to make informed, rational decisions. Moreover, behavioural biases have a distorting influence on consumer decision making. The law as it stands, therefore, seems ill-equipped to offer protection to consumers and to prevent them from rash and bad decision making. Reviewing existing regulation and case law, we propose that in the EU law, the Consumer Credit Directive and the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive require updating in order to offer sufficient protection to vulnerable groups of consumers who, on average, have low levels of financial literacy. Copyright The Author(s) 2012
Volume (Year): 35 (2012)
Issue (Month): 3 (September)
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://www.springer.com|
|Order Information:||Web: http://www.springer.com/social+sciences/journal/10603/PS2|
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Brown, Sarah & Taylor, Karl & Wheatley Price, Stephen, 2005. "Debt and distress: Evaluating the psychological cost of credit," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 642-663, October.
- van Rooij, Maarten & Lusardi, Annamaria & Alessie, Rob, 2011.
"Financial literacy and stock market participation,"
Journal of Financial Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 101(2), pages 449-472, August.
- M.C.J. van Rooij & A. Lusardi & R. Alessie, 2007. "Financial Literacy and Stock Market Participation," Working Papers 07-23, Utrecht School of Economics.
- van Rooij, Maarten & Lusardi, Annamaria & Alessie, Rob J. M., 2007. "Financial literacy and stock market participation," CFS Working Paper Series 2007/27, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
- Maarten van Rooij & Annamaria Lusardi & Rob Alessie, 2007. "Financial Literacy and Stock Market Participation," NBER Working Papers 13565, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Maarten van Rooij & Annamaria Lusardi & Rob Alessi, 2007. "Financial literacy and stock market participation," DNB Working Papers 146, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
- Maarten van Rooij & Annamaria Lusardi & Rob Alessie, 2007. "Financial Literacy and Stock Market Participation," CeRP Working Papers 66, Center for Research on Pensions and Welfare Policies, Turin (Italy).
- Maarten vanRooij & Annamaria Lusardi & Rob Alessie, 2007. "Financial Literacy and Stock Market Participation," Working Papers wp162, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
- Annamaria Lusardi & Olivia S Mitchelli, 2007. "Financial Literacy and Retirement Preparedness: Evidence and Implications for Financial Education," Business Economics, Palgrave Macmillan;National Association for Business Economics, vol. 42(1), pages 35-44, January.
- Angela A. Hung & Andrew M. Parker & Joanne K. Yoong, 2009. "Defining and Measuring Financial Literacy," Working Papers 708, RAND Corporation.
- Gathergood, John, 2012. "Self-control, financial literacy and consumer over-indebtedness," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 590-602.
- John Gathergood, "undated". "Self-Control, Financial Literacy and Consumer Over-Indebtedness," Discussion Papers 12/02, University of Nottingham, Centre for Finance, Credit and Macroeconomics (CFCM).
- Bucks, Brian & Pence, Karen, 2008. "Do borrowers know their mortgage terms?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 218-233, September.
- van Rooij, Maarten C.J. & Lusardi, Annamaria & Alessie, Rob J.M., 2011. "Financial literacy and retirement planning in the Netherlands," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 593-608, August.
- Maarten van Rooij & Annamaria Lusardi & Rob Alessie, 2009. "Financial Literacy and Retirement Planning in the Netherlands," DNB Working Papers 231, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
- Andreas Oehler & Christina Werner, 2008. "Saving for Retirement—A Case for Financial Education in Germany and UK? An Economic Perspective," Journal of Consumer Policy, Springer, vol. 31(3), pages 253-283, September.
- Sandra F. Braunstein & Carolyn Welch, 2002. "Financial literacy: an overview of practice, research, and policy," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Nov, pages 445-457.
- Victor Stango & Jonathan Zinman, 2009. "Exponential Growth Bias and Household Finance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 64(6), pages 2807-2849, December.
- repec:use:tkiwps:2323 is not listed on IDEAS Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:kap:jcopol:v:35:y:2012:i:3:p:307-332. 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: (Sonal Shukla)or (Rebekah McClure)
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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.