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Household Debt and Social Interactions

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  • Dimitris Georgarakos
  • Michael Haliassos
  • Giacomo Pasini

Abstract

Can concern with relative standing, which has been shown to influence consumption and labor supply, also increase borrowing and the likelihood of financial distress? We find that perceived peer income contributes to debt and the likelihood of financial distress among those who consider themselves poorer than their peers. We use unique responses describing perceived peer characteristics from a Dutch population-wide survey to handle two major challenges of uncovering social interaction effects on borrowing: (1) debts, unlike conspicuous consumption, are often hidden from peers and (1) location is missing in anonymized data. We employ several approaches to uncover exogenous, rather than correlated, effects.

Suggested Citation

  • Dimitris Georgarakos & Michael Haliassos & Giacomo Pasini, 2014. "Household Debt and Social Interactions," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 27(5), pages 1404-1433.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:rfinst:v:27:y:2014:i:5:p:1404-1433.
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/rfs/hhu014
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    JEL classification:

    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth

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