IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/bin/bpeajo/v42y2011i2011-01p83-150.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Financially Fragile Households: Evidence and Implications

Author

Listed:
  • Annamaria Lusardi

    (George Washington University)

  • Daniel Schneider

    (Princeton University)

  • Peter Tufano

    (University of Oxford)

Abstract

This paper examines households’ financial fragility by looking at their capacity to come up with $2,000 in 30 days. Using data from the 2009 TNS Global Economic Crisis survey, we document widespread financial weakness in the United States: Almost half of Americans report that they are incapable of coming-up with the funds necessary to deal with an ordinary financial shock. While financial fragility is more severe among those with low educational attainment and no financial education, families with children, those who suffered large wealth losses, and those who are unemployed, a sizable fraction of seemingly “middle class” Americans judge themselves to be financially fragile. We examine the coping methods people use to deal with shocks. While savings is used most often, relying on family and friends, using formal and alternative credit, increasing work hours, and selling items are also used frequently to deal with emergencies, especially for some subgroups. Household finance researchers must look beyond precautionary saving to understand how families cope with risk. We also find evidence of a pecking order of coping methods in which savings appears to be first in the ordering. Finally, the paper compares the levels of financial fragility and methods of coping among eight industrialized countries. While there are differences in coping ability across countries, there is general evidence of a consistent ordering of coping methods.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Suggested Citation

  • Annamaria Lusardi & Daniel Schneider & Peter Tufano, 2011. "Financially Fragile Households: Evidence and Implications," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 42(1 (Spring), pages 83-150.
  • Handle: RePEc:bin:bpeajo:v:42:y:2011:i:2011-01:p:83-150
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/2011a_bpea_lusardi.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Martin Browning & Annamaria Lusardi, 1996. "Household Saving: Micro Theories and Micro Facts," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(4), pages 1797-1855, December.
    2. Melvin Stephens, 2008. "The Consumption Response to Predictable Changes in Discretionary Income: Evidence from the Repayment of Vehicle Loans," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(2), pages 241-252, May.
    3. Christopher D. Carroll, 1997. "Buffer-Stock Saving and the Life Cycle/Permanent Income Hypothesis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(1), pages 1-55.
    4. Annamaria Lusardi & Daniel J. Schneider & Peter Tufano, 2010. "The economic crisis and medical care usage," NBER Working Papers 15843, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Sumit Agarwal & Paige Marta Skiba & Jeremy Tobacman, 2009. "Payday Loans and Credit Cards: New Liquidity and Credit Scoring Puzzles?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 412-417, May.
    6. Melissa Schettini Kearney & Peter Tufano & Jonathan Guryan & Erik Hurst, 2010. "Making Savers Winners: An Overview of Prize-Linked Savings Products," NBER Working Papers 16433, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. William Adams & Liran Einav & Jonathan Levin, 2009. "Liquidity Constraints and Imperfect Information in Subprime Lending," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 49-84, March.
    8. Lusardi, Annamaria & Tufano, Peter, 2015. "Debt literacy, financial experiences, and overindebtedness," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 14(04), pages 332-368, October.
    9. Athreya, Kartik & Tam, Xuan S. & Young, Eric R., 2009. "Unsecured credit markets are not insurance markets," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 83-103, January.
    10. Melvin Stephens Jr., 2003. ""3rd of tha Month": Do Social Security Recipients Smooth Consumption Between Checks?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 406-422, March.
    11. Asena Caner & Edward N. Wolff, 2004. "Asset Poverty In The United States, 1984-99: Evidence From The Panel Study Of Income Dynamics," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 50(4), pages 493-518, December.
    12. Jonathan A. Parker & Nicholas S. Souleles & David S. Johnson & Robert McClelland, 2013. "Consumer Spending and the Economic Stimulus Payments of 2008," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(6), pages 2530-2553, October.
    13. Mark Aguiar & Erik Hurst, 2005. "Consumption versus Expenditure," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(5), pages 919-948, October.
    14. Nava Ashraf & Dean Karlan & Wesley Yin, 2006. "Tying Odysseus to the Mast: Evidence From a Commitment Savings Product in the Philippines," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(2), pages 635-672.
    15. Chieffe, Natalie & Rakes, Ganas K., 1999. "An integrated model for financial planning," Financial Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 8(4), pages 261-268.
    16. Andrew C. Worthington, 2003. "Emergency finance in Australian households An empirical analysis of capacity and sources," School of Economics and Finance Discussion Papers and Working Papers Series 163, School of Economics and Finance, Queensland University of Technology.
    17. Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 2001. "Choice, Chance, and Wealth Dispersion at Retirement," NBER Chapters,in: Aging Issues in the United States and Japan, pages 25-64 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Jacob S. Hacker & Gregory A. Huber & Austin Nichols & Philipp Rehm & Mark Schlesinger & Rob Valletta & Stuart Craig, 2014. "The Economic Security Index: A New Measure for Research and Policy Analysis," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 60(S1), pages 5-32, May.
    2. Setterfield, Mark & Kim, Yun K., 2016. "Debt servicing, aggregate consumption, and growth," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 22-33.
    3. Felipe Kast & Dina Pomeranz, 2013. "Saving More to Borrow Less: Experimental Evidence from Access to Formal Savings Accounts in Chile," Harvard Business School Working Papers 14-001, Harvard Business School, revised Jun 2014.
    4. Margaret Miller & Julia Reichelstein & Christian Salas & Bilal Zia, 2015. "Can You Help Someone Become Financially Capable? A Meta-Analysis of the Literature," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 30(2), pages 220-246.
    5. Kseniya Abanokova & Michael Lokshin, 2015. "Changes in household composition as a shock-mitigating strategy," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 23(2), pages 371-388, April.
    6. Gete, Pedro, 2015. "Housing demands, savings gluts and current account dynamics," Globalization and Monetary Policy Institute Working Paper 221, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, revised 01 Aug 2015.
    7. Filiz-Ozbay, Emel & Guryan, Jonathan & Hyndman, Kyle & Kearney, Melissa & Ozbay, Erkut Y., 2015. "Do lottery payments induce savings behavior? Evidence from the lab," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 126(C), pages 1-24.
    8. Schneider, Daniel & Hastings, Orestes P., 2015. "Socio-Economic Variation in the Effect of Economic Conditions on Marriage and Non-marital Fertility: Evidence from the Great Recession," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt52x1c6dj, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
    9. Manuel Adelino & Antoinette Schoar & Felipe Severino, 2012. "Credit Supply and House Prices: Evidence from Mortgage Market Segmentation," NBER Working Papers 17832, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Barbara CAVALLETTI & Corrado LAGAZIO & Daniela VANDONE & Elena LAGOMARSINO, 2014. "Consumer debt and financial fragility in Italy," Departmental Working Papers 2014-08, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano.
    11. Atalay, Kadir & Bakhtiar, Fayzan & Cheung, Stephen & Slonim, Robert, 2014. "Savings and prize-linked savings accounts," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 107(PA), pages 86-106.
    12. Kaplan, Greg & Violante, Giovanni L, 2011. "A Model of the Consumption Response to Fiscal Stimulus Payments," CEPR Discussion Papers 8562, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    13. Sherrie L. W. Rhine & Wenhua Di & William H. Greene & Emily Perlmeter, 2016. "Savings Account Ownership During the Great Recession," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 37(3), pages 333-348, September.
    14. Hannah Thomas, 2013. "The Financial Crisis Hits Home: Foreclosures and Asset Exhaustion in Boston," Housing Policy Debate, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(4), pages 738-764, October.
    15. Elliott, William & Kim, Johnny S., 2013. "The role of identity-based motivation and solution-focus brief therapy in unifying accounts and financial education in school-related CDA programs," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 402-410.
    16. Luca Zanin, 2016. "On Italian Households’ Economic Inadequacy Using Quali-Quantitative Measures," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 128(1), pages 59-88, August.
    17. Annamaria Lusardi, 2011. "Americans' Financial Capability," NBER Working Papers 17103, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Yekaterina Chzhen, 2016. "Perceptions of the Economic Crisis in Europe: Do Adults in Households with Children Feel a Greater Impact?," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 127(1), pages 341-360, May.
    19. Yun K. Kim & Mark Setterfield & Yuan Mei, 2014. "A theory of aggregate consumption," European Journal of Economics and Economic Policies: Intervention, Edward Elgar Publishing, vol. 11(1), pages 31-49, April.
    20. Annamaria Lusardi, 2015. "Risk Literacy," Italian Economic Journal: A Continuation of Rivista Italiana degli Economisti and Giornale degli Economisti, Springer;Società Italiana degli Economisti (Italian Economic Association), vol. 1(1), pages 5-23, March.
    21. Barbara Cavalletti & Corrado Lagazio & Daniela Vandone & Elena Lagomarsino, 2012. "The role of financial position on consumer indebted-ness. An empirical analysis in Italy," DEP - series of economic working papers 8/2012, University of Genoa, Research Doctorate in Public Economics.
    22. Bian, Timothy Yang & Gete, Pedro, 2015. "What drives housing dynamics in China? A sign restrictions VAR approach," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 96-112.
    23. G. C. Lim & Sarantis Tsiaplias, 2015. "Financial Stress Thresholds and Household Equivalence Scales," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2015n05, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
    24. repec:eee:cysrev:v:78:y:2017:i:c:p:161-169 is not listed on IDEAS
    25. Annamaria Lusardi & Daniel Schneider & Peter Tufano, 2015. "The Economic Crisis and Medical Care Use: Comparative Evidence from Five High-Income Countries," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 96(1), pages 202-213, March.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    financial fragility; savings; coping;

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bin:bpeajo:v:42:y:2011:i:2011-01:p:83-150. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jennifer Ambrosino). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/esbrous.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.