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.
Girolamo, Amalia; Harrison, Glenn; Lau, Morten; and Swarthout, Todd, "Characterizing Financial and Statistical Literacy" (2013). ExCEN Working Papers. 44.