Date of Award

5-2015

Level of Access

Campus-Only Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Interdisciplinary Program

Advisor

Mariano Teisl

Second Committee Member

Shannon McCoy

Third Committee Member

Caroline Noblet

Abstract

The science of economic psychology seeks to identify and operationalize those concepts from psychology that may be useful in improving our models of financial behavior. This dissertation examines the problem of unsustainable personal financial management in three distinct ways. First, employing both mail and online survey methods, we look into the automatic processes of time and risk perception using the concept of psychological distance, and demonstrate how this process can account for apparent irrationality in decision-making when faced with inter-temporal choices. Second, we emplt)Y structural equation analysis to show how the future concept affects financial behavior in the presence of impulsiveness. materialism. and financial knowledge. Lastly. we use online marketing surveys to compare the attractiveness of psychology-based financial education with standard money management approaches. and we rep011 the results of the pilot test of a unique financial education program that incorporates many factors o f consumer psychology. As a work of interdisciplinary scholarship, this dissertation attempts to integrate several lines o f research into a body of work that has both theoretical and practical significance. We show how the concept of psychological distance can potentially enhance the explanatory power o f discounting models in economics. We identify potential targets for psychological interventions aimed at changing financial behavior, and we introduce a psychology-based financial literacy course that has the potential to engage audiences in a new way. While problems o f selfselection bias remain, we believe this work contributes to the field o f behavioral economics in both theory and practice.

Comments

Interdisciplinary in Behavioral Economics

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