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Subjective belief distributions and the characterization of economic literacy.

Girolamo, A. D. and Harrison, G. W. and Lau, M. I. and Swarthout, J. T. (2015) 'Subjective belief distributions and the characterization of economic literacy.', Journal of behavioral and experimental economics., 59 . pp. 1-12.


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. By eliciting the distribution, rather than just the answers to true/false or multiple choice questions, we can directly measure the confidence that an individual has about their knowledge of some fact. We consider literacy across several financial and economic domains. We find considerable demographic heterogeneity in the degree of literacy. We also measure the degree of consistency within a sample about their knowledge, even when that knowledge is imperfect.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Belief elicitation, Financial literacy, Statistical literacy.
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.
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Publisher statement:© 2015 This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
Date accepted:12 August 2015
Date deposited:07 September 2015
Date of first online publication:December 2015
Date first made open access:22 August 2017

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