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Impulsivity and household indebtedness: Evidence from real life

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  • Ottaviani, Cristina
  • Vandone, Daniela

Abstract

Using a probit model, we estimated the role of emotional factors in determining household participation in the debt market, after controlling for such traditional economic predictors as age, level of education, income, wealth, and work status. A sample of 445 Caucasian subjects selected among fulltime employees at international asset management companies underwent the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale, the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT) while skin conductance was recorded, and a series of questions related to their demographic-socio-economic profile. Aside from confirming the role played by traditional explanatory variables commonly used as determinants of household indebtedness, results revealed the significant influence of individuals’ impulsivity in making debt decisions. Impulsivity predicted unsecured debt (i.e. consumer credit), but it was not significantly associated with secured debt (i.e. mortgages). Neither presence of a somatic marker to guide decisions nor performance at the IGT predicted real-life indebtedness decisions in this non-clinical sample. The notion that “non-rational” factors influence debt demand has been largely ignored and raises concerns about the risk of over-indebtedness for impulsive individuals.

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  • Ottaviani, Cristina & Vandone, Daniela, 2011. "Impulsivity and household indebtedness: Evidence from real life," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 754-761.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:32:y:2011:i:5:p:754-761
    DOI: 10.1016/j.joep.2011.05.002
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    Cited by:

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    2. Núria Rodríguez‐Planas, 2018. "Mortgage finance and culture," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(4), pages 786-821, September.
    3. Luisa ANDERLONI & Emanuele BACCHIOCCHI & Daniela VANDONE, 2011. "Household financial vulnerability: an empirical analysis," Departmental Working Papers 2011-02, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano, revised 03 Nov 2011.
    4. K. Majamaa & A.-R. Lehtinen & K. Rantala, 2019. "Debt Judgments as a Reflection of Consumption-Related Debt Problems," Journal of Consumer Policy, Springer, vol. 42(2), pages 223-244, June.
    5. Cristina Ottaviani & Daniela Vandone, 2018. "Financial Literacy, Debt Burden and Impulsivity: A Mediation Analysis," Economic Notes, Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA, vol. 47(2-3), pages 439-454, July.
    6. G. Silinskas & M. Ranta & T.-A. Wilska, 2021. "Financial Behaviour Under Economic Strain in Different Age Groups: Predictors and Change Across 20 Years," Journal of Consumer Policy, Springer, vol. 44(2), pages 235-257, June.
    7. Luisa ANDERLONI & Daniela VANDONE, 2011. "Vulnerabilità e benessere delle famiglie italiane," Departmental Working Papers 2011-40, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano.
    8. Mahfuzur Rahman & Nurul Azma & Md. Abdul Kaium Masud & Yusof Ismail, 2020. "Determinants of Indebtedness: Influence of Behavioral and Demographic Factors," International Journal of Financial Studies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(1), pages 1-14, February.
    9. Cristina OTTAVIANI & Daniela VANDONE, 2016. "Is Impulsivity a Mediator of the Relationship between Financial Literacy and Debt Decisions?," Departmental Working Papers 2016-06, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano.
    10. Delgado Fuentealba, Carlos L. & Muñoz Mendoza, Jorge A. & Sepúlveda Yelpo, Sandra M. & Veloso Ramos, Carmen L. & Fuentes-Solís, Rodrigo A., 2021. "Household debt, automatic bill payments and inattention: Theory and evidence," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 85(C).
    11. Matthew Gnagey & Therese Grijalva & Rong Rong, 2020. "Spousal influence and assortative mating on time preferences: a field experiment in the USA," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 18(2), pages 461-512, June.
    12. Rendall, Stella & Brooks, Chris & Hillenbrand, Carola, 2021. "The impacts of emotions and personality on borrowers’ abilities to manage their debts," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 74(C).
    13. Lebdaoui, Hind & Chetioui, Youssef, 2021. "Antecedents of consumer indebtedness in a majority-Muslim country: Assessing the moderating effects of gender and religiosity using PLS-MGA," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Finance, Elsevier, vol. 29(C).
    14. Marco FRIGERIO & Cristina OTTAVIANI & Daniela VANDONE, 2018. "A Meta-Analytic Investigation of Consumer Over-Indebtedness: the Role of Impulsivity," Departmental Working Papers 2018-08, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano.
    15. Reyers, Michelle & van Schalkwyk, Cornelis Hendrik & Gouws, Daniël Gerhardus, 2015. "Rational and behavioural predictors of pre-retirement cash-outs," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 23-33.
    16. Atte Oksanen & Mikko Aaltonen & Kati Rantala, 2015. "Social Determinants of Debt Problems in a Nordic Welfare State: a Finnish Register-Based Study," Journal of Consumer Policy, Springer, vol. 38(3), pages 229-246, September.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Behavioral economics; Decision-making; Household indebtedness; Impulsivity; Iowa Gambling Task; Probit model;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
    • 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
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages

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