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Effects of financial insecurity on social interactions

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  • Corman, Hope
  • Noonan, Kelly
  • Reichman, Nancy E.
  • Schultz, Jennifer
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    Abstract

    Little is known about the effects of financial insecurity on social interactions despite consistently observed income effects on social capital and a growing recognition of the potential importance of income volatility in affecting hardships, distress, and other aspects of well-being. We use data on women participating in a longitudinal study in the U.S. to investigate the effects of financial insecurity measured along two dimensions (safety nets and hardships) on two types of social interactions (participating in community organizations and having close friends). In auxiliary analyses we explore the potential mediating effects of mental health. We find that safety nets in the form of bank accounts, credit cards, and ability to borrow money increase both participation in organizations and friendships, whereas material hardships decrease friendships but increase participation in organizations. We find no evidence that mental health, as we have measured it, mediates the observed effects of financial insecurity on social interactions, although it has strong and negative independent associations with having close friends.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics).

    Volume (Year): 41 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 5 ()
    Pages: 574-583

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:soceco:v:41:y:2012:i:5:p:574-583

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/620175

    Related research

    Keywords: Social interaction; Financial insecurity; Material hardship; Friendship; Participation in organizations;

    References

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    1. Robert Rector & Kirk Johnson & Sarah Youssef, 1999. "The Extent of Material Hardship and Poverty in the United States," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 57(3), pages 351-387.
    2. Edward L. Glaeser & David Laibson & Bruce Sacerdote, 2002. "An Economic Approach to Social Capital," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(483), pages 437-458, November.
    3. Susan E. Mayer & Christopher Jencks, 1989. "Poverty and the Distribution of Material Hardship," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 24(1), pages 88-114.
    4. Alesina, Alberto & La Ferrara, Eliana, 2002. "Who trusts others?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(2), pages 207-234, August.
    5. Reichman, Nancy E. & Teitler, Julien O. & Garfinkel, Irwin & McLanahan, Sara S., 2001. "Fragile Families: sample and design," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(4-5), pages 303-326.
    6. Colleen M. Heflin & John Iceland, 2009. "Poverty, Material Hardship, and Depression," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1051-1071.
    7. Peter Gottschalk & Robert Moffitt, 2009. "The Rising Instability of U.S. Earnings," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 23(4), pages 3-24, Fall.
    8. Walter Bossert & Conchita D'Ambrosio, 2009. "Measuring Economic Insecurity," Working Papers 111, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
    9. James X. Sullivan & Lesley Turner & Sheldon Danziger, 2008. "The relationship between income and material hardship," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(1), pages 63-81.
    10. Saffer, Henry, 2008. "The demand for social interaction," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 1047-1060, June.
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