Munich Personal RePEc Archive

What do Italian consumers know about Economic Data? An analysis based on the ISTAT Consumers Survey

Giovannini, Enrico and Malgarini, Marco (2012): What do Italian consumers know about Economic Data? An analysis based on the ISTAT Consumers Survey.

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Abstract

Standard theory describes economic decisions as the result of optimising behaviour of well-informed economic agents. However, whether citizens are really well informed on economic data is still highly disputed. In order to investigate on this issue, since 2007 the Italian Consumers survey has incorporated a number of questions on the degree of knowledge about economic data. Surveys results show that the level of knowledge of Italian consumers is relatively low; moreover, knowledge seems to significantly vary across different groups of respondents, depending on individual characteristics and the perceived costs and benefits of acquiring information. Results provide evidence of deviation from the standard approach of full rationality in the information acquisition process: if agents are not always fully rational, delays in information acquisition should be taken into account by policy makers in designing appropriate interventions.

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