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The determinants of unsecured borrowing: evidence from the British Household Panel Survey


  • Ana Del-Rí­o
  • Garry Young


Household indebtedness has risen sharply in recent years, with large increases in both secured and unsecured borrowing. In this paper, waves 5 and 10 of the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS) for 1995 and 2000 are used to examine the determinants of participation in the unsecured debt market and the amount borrowed. Probit models for participation are estimated and age, income, positive financial prospects and housing tenure are found to be very significant and have the expected sign according to a life-cycle model for consumption. Regressions to explain the level of borrowing by individuals suggest that income is the main variable explaining crosssectional differences in unsecured debts. The increase in aggregate unsecured debt between 1995 and 2000 does not seem to be closely linked to changes in the determinants of debt market participation and has been mainly associated with the larger amounts borrowed by those with debts. Increases in income, better educational qualifications and improved prospects regarding the financial situation contributed to this result. The major part of the overall increase in unsecured debt is not explained by variables at the individual level, but is accounted for by common, unmodelled macroeconomic factors.

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  • Ana Del-Rí­o & Garry Young, 2005. "The determinants of unsecured borrowing: evidence from the British Household Panel Survey," Bank of England working papers 263, Bank of England.
  • Handle: RePEc:boe:boeewp:263

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Thorvardur Tjörvi Ólafsson & Karen Á. Vignisdóttir, 2012. "Households’ position in the financial crisis in Iceland. Analysis based on a nationwide household-level database," Economics wp59, Department of Economics, Central bank of Iceland.
    2. repec:etr:series:v:3:y:2012:i:11:p:341-350 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Barbara CAVALLETTI & Corrado LAGAZIO & Daniela VANDONE, 2008. "Il credito al consumo in Italia: benessere economico o fragilita’ finanziaria?," Departmental Working Papers 2008-24, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano.
    4. M.A. Akudugu, 2011. "Rural banks' financial capital and livelihoods development of women farmers in Ghana," Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 5(2), pages 248-264, September.
    5. Luis J. Álvarez & Emmanuel Dhyne & Marco Hoeberichts & Claudia Kwapil & Hervé Le Bihan & Patrick Lünnemann & Fernando Martins & Roberto Sabbatini & Harald Stahl & Philip Vermeulen & Jouko Vilmunen, 2006. "Sticky Prices in the Euro Area: A Summary of New Micro-Evidence," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(2-3), pages 575-584, 04-05.
    6. Matthias Keese, 2009. "Triggers and Determinants of Severe Household Indebtedness in Germany," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 239, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    7. Luisa ANDERLONI & Daniela VANDONE, 2010. "The profitability of the consumer credit industry: evidence from Europe," Departmental Working Papers 2010-24, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano.
    8. Adela Luque, 2005. "Skill mix and technology in Spain: evidence from firm level data," Working Papers 0513, Banco de España;Working Papers Homepage.
    9. Ke Chen Chen & Mali Chivakul, 2008. "What Drives Household Borrowing and Credit Constraints? Evidence from Bosnia and Herzegovina," IMF Working Papers 08/202, International Monetary Fund.
    10. Herrala, Risto & Kauko, Karlo, 2007. "Household loan loss risk in Finland : estimations and simulations with micro data," Research Discussion Papers 5/2007, Bank of Finland.
    11. Lobna ABID & Zouari Dorra & Zouari Ghorbel Sonia, 2012. "Household indebtedness in Tunisia," E3 Journal of Business Management and Economics., E3 Journals, vol. 3(10), pages 341-350.
    12. Ottaviani, Cristina & Vandone, Daniela, 2011. "Impulsivity and household indebtedness: Evidence from real life," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 754-761.
    13. M.A. Akudugu, 2011. "Rural banks' financial capital and livelihoods development of women farmers in Ghana," Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 5(4), pages 248-264, October.
    14. Chen, Nan-Kuang & Chen, Shiu-Sheng & Chou, Yu-Hsi, 2010. "House prices, collateral constraint, and the asymmetric effect on consumption," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 26-37, March.
    15. Paradiso, Antonio & Kumar, Saten & Lucchetta, Marcella, 2014. "Investigating the US consumer credit determinants using linear and non-linear cointegration techniques," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 20-28.

    More about this item

    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
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth

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