Corporate Profits and Personal Misery: Credit, Gender, and the Distribution of Income
Financial institutions engage in financial innovation to increase profits. The resulting increases in consumer debt, however, make low income groups vulnerable to declines in income; households headed by women are particularly vulnerable. Consumers are disadvantaged given the asymmetry between business and consumer choices. Consumers use credit for many reasons including pecuniary emulation and supporting others, support that often falls to women. The paper examines the ratio of debt to financial assets, the ratio of debt to income, the ratio of dept payments to income, and the rate of bankruptcy as indicators of the fragility of household balance sheets.
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