Financial Literacy and Epistemic Virtues

Mon, Oct 9, 2017, 4:30 pm

Boudewijn de Bruin, Professor of Financial Ethics at the University of Gronigen, will speak about "Financial Literacy and Epistemic Virtues."  JC de Swaan, Princeton University and  Partner at Cornwell Capital, will facilitate the discussion.

De Bruin's research interests are financial ethics, moral and political philosophy, theory of knowledge, philosophy of mathematics, economics and finance, game theory and philosophical logic. De Bruin is the author of a monograph on Explaining Games: The Epistemic Programme in Game Theory published in Springer's Synthese Library in 2010, and co-editor, with Christopher F. Zurn, of New Waves in Political Philosophy (Palgrave, 2008). A book on epistemic virtues in banking and finance, entitled Ethics and the Global Financial Crisis: Why Incompetence is Worse than Greed Cambridge University Press 2017.

During this talk de Bruin will present his work on financial literacy.  Most research on financial literacy focuses on how financial outcomes depend on people's knowledge of finance concepts. People generally know very little about finance (about a third doesn't know how compounding works), so one should expect that financial outcomes are often suboptimal. This research hypothesizes that financial outcomes not only depend on one's financial knowledge, but also on one's ability to critically deal with information. The researchers develop a scale to measure this ability (called the 'epistemic virtues' scale), and use it in the Dutch Household Survey to examine the impact of critical thinking (epistemic virtue) on financial outcomes.

JC de Swaan is a lecturer in the economics department at Princeton University.  He teaches courses on ethics in finance and on Asian capital markets.  He also teaches at the Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge. Separately,  de Swaan is a Partner at Cornwall Capital, a multi-strategy global investment fund based in New York.



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