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Characterizing Financial and Statistical Literacy

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Listed:
  • Amalia Di Girolamo
  • Glenn W. Harrison
  • Morten I. Lau
  • J. Todd Swarthout

Abstract

We characterize the literacy of an individual in a domain by their elicited subjective belief distribution over the possible responses to a question posed in that domain. We consider literacy across several financial, economic and statistical domains. We find considerable demographic heterogeneity in the degree of literacy. We also characterize the degree of consistency within a sample about their knowledge, even when that knowledge is imperfect. We show how uncertainty aversion might be a normatively attractive behavior for individuals who have imperfect literacy. Finally, we discuss extensions of our approach to characterize financial capability, the consequences of non-literacy, social literacy, and the information content of hypothetical survey measures of literacy.

Suggested Citation

  • Amalia Di Girolamo & Glenn W. Harrison & Morten I. Lau & J. Todd Swarthout, 2013. "Characterizing Financial and Statistical Literacy," Experimental Economics Center Working Paper Series 2013-04, Experimental Economics Center, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  • Handle: RePEc:exc:wpaper:2013-04
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    File URL: http://excen.gsu.edu/workingpapers/GSU_EXCEN_WP_2013-04.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Manski, Charles F., 2006. "Interpreting the predictions of prediction markets," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 91(3), pages 425-429, June.
    2. Steffen Andersen & John Fountain & Glenn Harrison & E. Rutström, 2014. "Estimating subjective probabilities," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 48(3), pages 207-229, June.
    3. James E. Matheson & Robert L. Winkler, 1976. "Scoring Rules for Continuous Probability Distributions," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 22(10), pages 1087-1096, June.
    4. Harrison, Glenn W. & Martínez-Correa, Jimmy & Swarthout, J. Todd, 2015. "Reduction of compound lotteries with objective probabilities: Theory and evidence," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 32-55.
    5. Holt, Charles A. & Smith, Angela M., 2009. "An update on Bayesian updating," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 125-134, February.
    6. V. Kerry Smith & Donald H. Taylor & Frank A. Sloan, 2001. "Longevity Expectations and Death: Can People Predict Their Own Demise?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 1126-1134, September.
    7. Shefrin, Hersh, 2008. "A Behavioral Approach to Asset Pricing," Elsevier Monographs, Elsevier, edition 2, number 9780123743565.
    8. Annamaria Lusardi & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2008. "Planning and Financial Literacy: How Do Women Fare?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 413-417, May.
    9. Lusardi, Annamaria & Mitchell, Olivia S., 2007. "Baby Boomer retirement security: The roles of planning, financial literacy, and housing wealth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 205-224, January.
    10. Edi Karni, 2009. "A Mechanism for Eliciting Probabilities," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(2), pages 603-606, March.
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    12. Hazel Bateman & Christine Eckert & John Geweke & Jordan Louviere & Susan Thorp & Stephen Satchell, 2012. "Financial Competence and Expectations Formation: Evidence from Australia," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 88(280), pages 39-63, March.
    13. Grether, David M., 1992. "Testing bayes rule and the representativeness heuristic: Some experimental evidence," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 31-57, January.
    14. Todd Elder, 2013. "The Predictive Validity of Subjective Mortality Expectations: Evidence From the Health and Retirement Study," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 50(2), pages 569-589, April.
    15. McKinley Blackburn & Glenn W. Harrison & E. Elisabet Rutström, 1994. "Statistical Bias Functions and Informative Hypothetical Surveys," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 76(5), pages 1084-1088.
    16. Shane Frederick, 2005. "Cognitive Reflection and Decision Making," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(4), pages 25-42, Fall.
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    18. Harrison, Glenn W. & Martínez-Correa, Jimmy & Swarthout, J. Todd & Ulm, Eric R., 2017. "Scoring rules for subjective probability distributions," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 134(C), pages 430-448.
    19. Harrison, Glenn W, 1994. "Expected Utility Theory and the Experimentalists," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 19(2), pages 223-253.
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    Cited by:

    1. Saima Ghazal & Edward T. Cokely & Rocio Garcia-Retamero, 2014. "Predicting biases in very highly educated samples: Numeracy and metacognition," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 9(1), pages 15-34, January.

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