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Characterizing Financial and Statistical Literacy

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

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.

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File URL: http://excen.gsu.edu/workingpapers/GSU_EXCEN_WP_2013-04.pdf
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Paper provided by Experimental Economics Center, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University in its series Experimental Economics Center Working Paper Series with number 2013-04.

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Length: 71
Date of creation: Apr 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:exc:wpaper:2013-04
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Web page: http://excen.gsu.edu/

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  1. Glenn W. Harrison & Jimmy Martínez-Correa & J. Todd Swarthout & Eric R. Ulm, 2012. "Scoring Rules for Subjective Probability Distributions," Experimental Economics Center Working Paper Series 2012-18, Experimental Economics Center, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  2. Annamaria Lusardi & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2008. "Planning and Financial Literacy: How Do Women Fare?," NBER Working Papers 13750, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Glenn W. Harrison & Jimmy Martínez-Correa & J. Todd Swarthout, 2012. "Reduction of Compound Lotteries with Objective Probabilities: Theory and Evidence," Experimental Economics Center Working Paper Series 2012-04, Experimental Economics Center, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  4. Charles F. Manski, 2004. "Interpreting the Predictions of Prediction Markets," NBER Working Papers 10359, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Wilbert van der Klaauw & Wandi Bruine de Bruin & Giorgio Topa & Basit Zafar & Olivier Armantier, 2012. "Inflation Expectations and Behavior: Do Survey Respondents Act on their Beliefs?," 2012 Meeting Papers 121, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  6. Maria Perozek, 2008. "Using subjective expectations to forecast longevity: do survey respondents know something we don’t know?," Demography, Springer, vol. 45(1), pages 95-113, February.
  7. Todd Elder, 2013. "The Predictive Validity of Subjective Mortality Expectations: Evidence From the Health and Retirement Study," Demography, Springer, vol. 50(2), pages 569-589, April.
  8. Shane Frederick, 2005. "Cognitive Reflection and Decision Making," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(4), pages 25-42, Fall.
  9. 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, 03.
  10. Annamaria Lusardi & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2006. "Baby Boomer Retirement Security: the Roles of Planning, Financial Literacy, and Housing Wealth," NBER Working Papers 12585, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. James E. Matheson & Robert L. Winkler, 1976. "Scoring Rules for Continuous Probability Distributions," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 22(10), pages 1087-1096, June.
  12. Edi Karni, 2009. "A Mechanism for Eliciting Probabilities," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(2), pages 603-606, 03.
  13. Andersen, Steffen & Fountain, John & Harrison, Glenn W. & Rutström, Elisabet E., 2009. "Estimating Subjective Probabilities," Working Papers 05-2009, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Economics.
  14. Delavande, Adeline & Giné, Xavier & McKenzie, David, 2011. "Measuring subjective expectations in developing countries: A critical review and new evidence," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(2), pages 151-163, March.
  15. Harrison, Glenn W, 1994. "Expected Utility Theory and the Experimentalists," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 19(2), pages 223-53.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. Smith, V. Kerry & Taylor, Donald H., Jr. & Sloan, Frank A., 2000. "Longevity Expectations and Death: Can People Predict Their Own Demise?," Working Papers 00-15, Duke University, Department of Economics.
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