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Consumer-finance myths and other obstacles to financial literacy

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  • William R. Emmons

Abstract

The consumer-finance market for middle and upper-income households in the United States is characterized by a wide range of choices, both in terms of financial-services providers and the specific products and services available.1 Prices generally are determined in competitive markets. Consumer-protection regulation is extensive. Why then is there so much dissatisfaction with the U.S. consumer-finance market, even for prime-quality customers? ; This paper focuses not on inadequate choices, inadequate competition or regulation, but on the difficulty many middle and upper-income households encounter in making good financial decisions—that is, a low average level of financial literacy. Millions of households are unable to make wise financial decisions even when adequate information is available. Low levels of financial skills provide a fertile environment for consumer-finance myths to arise and gain widespread acceptance.

Suggested Citation

  • William R. Emmons, 2005. "Consumer-finance myths and other obstacles to financial literacy," Supervisory Policy Analysis Working Papers 2005-03, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlsp:2005-03
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    Cited by:

    1. Berg, Nathan & Kim, Jeong-Yoo, 2010. "Demand for Self Control: A model of Consumer Response to Programs and Products that Moderate Consumption," MPRA Paper 26593, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Bernadette Kamleitner & Bianca Hornung & Erich Kirchler, 2010. "Over-indebtedness and the interplay of factual and mental money management: An interview study," Working Papers 34, Queen Mary, University of London, School of Business and Management, Centre for Globalisation Research.
    3. Adriana ZAIT & Patricea Elena BERTEA, 2014. "Financial Literacy – Conceptual Definition and Proposed Approach for a Measurement Instrument," The Journal of Accounting and Management, Danubius University of Galati, issue 3, pages 37-42, December.

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    Keywords

    Consumer protection ; Education - Economic aspects;

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