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Self-control, financial literacy & the co-holding puzzle

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  • Gathergood, John
  • Weber, Jörg

Abstract

We use UK survey data to analyze the puzzling co-existence of high cost revolving consumer credit alongside low yield liquid savings in household balance sheets, which we name the ‘co-holding puzzle’. Approximately 12% of households in our sample co-hold, on average, £3800 of revolving consumer credit on which they incur interest charges, even though they could immediately pay down all this debt using their liquid assets. Co-holders are typically more financially literate, with above average income and education. In most estimates co-holding is also associated with impulsive spending behavior on the part of the household. Our results provide empirical support to theoretical models in which households co-hold as a means of managing self-control problems.

Suggested Citation

  • Gathergood, John & Weber, Jörg, 2014. "Self-control, financial literacy & the co-holding puzzle," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 107(PB), pages 455-469.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:107:y:2014:i:pb:p:455-469
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2014.04.018
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    1. repec:eee:jeborg:v:145:y:2018:i:c:p:80-94 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Gathergood, John & Weber, Jörg, 2017. "Financial literacy, present bias and alternative mortgage products," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 58-83.
    3. Seuntjens, Terri G. & van de Ven, Niels & Zeelenberg, Marcel & van der Schors, Anna, 2016. "Greed and adolescent financial behavior," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 1-12.
    4. Carolina Laureti, 2015. "The Debt Puzzle in Dhaka’s Slums: Do Poor People Co-hold for Liquidity Needs?," Working Papers CEB 15-021, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    5. Kramer, Marc M., 2016. "Financial literacy, confidence and financial advice seeking," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 131(PA), pages 198-217.
    6. John Gathergood & Joerg Weber, 2015. "Is Poor Financial Literacy a Barrier to Home Ownership?," Discussion Papers 2015/16, University of Nottingham, Centre for Finance, Credit and Macroeconomics (CFCM).
    7. Carolina Laureti, 2017. "Why do Poor People Co-hold Debt and Liquid Savings?," Working Papers CEB 17-007, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    8. Palma, Marco & Segovia, Michelle & Kassas, Bachir & Ribera, Luis & Hall, Charles, 2016. "The Effects of Self-Control on Subsequent Purchasing Decisions," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, 2016, Boston, Massachusetts 235987, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Consumer credit; Self-control; Financial literacy;

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D10 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - General
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth

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