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Individual differences in susceptibility to financial bullshit

Mario Kienzler, Daniel Västfjäll and Gustav Tinghög

Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Finance, 2022, vol. 34, issue C

Abstract: What is the effect of seemingly impressive verbal financial assertions that are presented as true and meaningful but are actually meaningless; that is, financial pseudo-profound bullshit? We develop and validate a novel measurement scale to assess consumers’ ability to detect and distinguish financial bullshit. We show that this financial bullshit scale captures a unique construct that is only moderately correlated with related constructs such as financial knowledge, numeracy, and cognitive reflection. Consumers particular vulnerable to financial bullshit are more likely to be young, male, have a higher income, and be overconfident with regards to their own financial knowledge. The ability to detect and distinguish financial bullshit also predicts financial well-being while being less predictive of consumers’ self-reported financial behavior, suggesting that susceptibility to financial bullshit is linked to affective rather than behavioral reactions. Our findings have implications for the understanding of how financial communication impacts consumer decision making and financial well-being.

Keywords: Bullshit; Financial bullshit; Financial behavior; Financial well-being; Scale (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: G41 G51 G53 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:beexfi:v:34:y:2022:i:c:s2214635022000193

DOI: 10.1016/j.jbef.2022.100655

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