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Family finances, individualisation, spending patterns and access to credit


  • Pahl, Jan


This paper presents and discusses empirical data suggesting that couples in the United Kingdom and elsewhere are becoming more individualised in their financial arrangements. Data on access to credit, and spending responsibilities, are used to explore the implications of individualisation. It is suggested that, though a couple's decision to keep their money separate may be motivated by a desire for equality and autonomy, the effect in some households may be to create inequality between the partners. The use of credit cards, which are essentially an individualised form of money, can privilege those with good credit ratings and disadvantage those who have less access to new forms of money. Finally, a wider view of the topic is explored, using evidence on the intra-household economy, on spending patterns and access to credit in sub-Saharan Africa, a part of the world with a long tradition of 'separate pots' for married couples. The article concludes that many of the issues in sub-Saharan Africa also apply in the 'developed' world.

Suggested Citation

  • Pahl, Jan, 2008. "Family finances, individualisation, spending patterns and access to credit," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 577-591, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:soceco:v:37:y:2008:i:2:p:577-591

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Esther Duflo, 2003. "Grandmothers and Granddaughters: Old-Age Pensions and Intrahousehold Allocation in South Africa," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 17(1), pages 1-25, June.
    2. Quisumbing, Agnes R. & Maluccio, John A., 2000. "Intrahousehold allocation and gender relations," FCND discussion papers 84, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    3. Phipps, Shelley A & Burton, Peter S, 1998. "What's Mine Is Yours? The Influence of Male and Female Incomes on Patterns of Household Expenditure," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 65(260), pages 599-613, November.
    4. Johnson, Susan, 2004. "Gender Norms in Financial Markets: Evidence from Kenya," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(8), pages 1355-1374, August.
    5. Self, Sharmistha, 2005. "What makes motherhood so expensive?: The role of social expectations, interdependence, and coordination failure in explaining lower wages of mothers," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 34(6), pages 850-865, December.
    6. John Simister & Jenifer Piesse, 2003. "Bargaining And Household Dynamics: The Impact Of Education And Financial Control On Nutrition Outcomes In South Africa," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 71(1), pages 163-180, March.
    7. Frances Woolley, 2000. "Control over Money in Marriage," Carleton Economic Papers 00-07, Carleton University, Department of Economics, revised 2003.
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    Cited by:

    1. Lars Evertsson & Charlott Nyman, 2014. "Perceptions and Practices in Independent Management: Blurring the Boundaries Between “Mine,” “Yours” and “Ours”," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 35(1), pages 65-80, March.
    2. Dilyara Ibragimova, 2013. "Money management in russian families," HSE Working papers WP BRP 11/SOC/2013, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
    3. Claude d’Aspremont & Rodolphe Dos Santos Ferreira, 2014. "Household behavior and individual autonomy: an extended Lindahl mechanism," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 55(3), pages 643-664, April.
    4. Bernadette Kamleitner & Bianca Hornung & Erich Kirchler, 2010. "Over-indebtedness and the interplay of factual and mental money management: An interview study," Working Papers 34, Queen Mary, University of London, School of Business and Management, Centre for Globalisation Research.
    5. d’ASPREMONT, Claude & DOS SANTOS FERREIRA, Rodolphe, 2009. "Household behavior and individual autonomy," CORE Discussion Papers 2009022, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
    6. Nevena, Kulic & Giulia, Dotti Sani, 2015. "Intra-household sharing of financial resources: A non-technical review of the research field and its historical development," MPRA Paper 68420, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Fenaba R. Addo, 2017. "Financial Integration and Relationship Transitions of Young Adult Cohabiters," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 38(1), pages 84-99, March.

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