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More Than You Wanted to KnowThe Failure of Mandated Disclosure$
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Omri Ben-Shahar and Carl E. Schneider

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691161709

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691161709.001.0001

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Reading Disclosures

Reading Disclosures

Chapter 5 (p.79) Reading Disclosures
More Than You Wanted to Know

Omri Ben-Shahar

Carl E. Schneider

Princeton University Press

This chapter explains how literacy problems complicate the process involved in making informed decisions. Many people are unable to read many disclosures because they are not literate or numerate enough to decipher them with reasonable effort. This is both because levels of literacy and numeracy are surprisingly low and because the reading levels of disclosures are surprisingly high. The chapter argues that sector literacy—understanding a decision's context and an industry's practices as only proficients do—poses a major problem in terms of trying to understand mandated disclosures. It emphasizes the need for sector literacy and reviews evidence from the areas of health literacy and financial literacy. It concludes by asking whether the illiteracy, innumeracy, and sector illiteracy problem can be solved.

Keywords:   informed decisions, numeracy, reading levels, sector literacy, mandated disclosure, health literacy, financial literacy, illiteracy, innumeracy

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