IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Locus of Control and Savings

  • Deborah A. Cobb-Clark


    (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne; and IZA, Bonn)

  • Sonja C. Kassenboehmer


    (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne; and IZA, Bonn)

  • Mathias G. Sinning

    (Research School of Economics, College of Business and Economics, The Australian National University; RWI, Essen; and IZA, Bonn)

This paper analyzes the relationship between individuals’ locus of control and their savings behavior, i.e. wealth accumulation, savings rates, and portfolio choices. Locus of control is a psychological concept that captures individuals’ beliefs about the controllability of life events and is a key component of self-control. We find that households with an internal reference person save more both in terms of levels and as a percentage of their permanent incomes. Although the locus-of-control gap in savings rates is largest among rich households, the gap in wealth accumulation is particularly large for poor households. Finally, households with an internal reference person and average net worth hold significantly less financial wealth, but significantly more pension wealth, than otherwise similar households with an external reference person.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne in its series Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series with number wp2013n42.

in new window

Length: 48pp
Date of creation: Dec 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iae:iaewps:wp2013n42
Contact details of provider: Postal: Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010 Australia
Phone: +61 3 8344 2100
Fax: +61 3 8344 2111
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Martin Browning & Thomas Crossley, 2001. "The life-cycle model of consumption and saving," IFS Working Papers W01/15, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  2. H. M. Shefrin & Richard Thaler, 1977. "An Economic Theory of Self-Control," NBER Working Papers 0208, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Annamaria Lusardi & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2006. "Baby Boomer Retirement Security: The Roles of Planning, Financial Literacy, and Housing Wealth," Working Papers wp114, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  4. Maarten van Rooij & Annamaria Lusardi & Rob Alessie, 2007. "Financial Literacy and Stock Market Participation," CeRP Working Papers 66, Center for Research on Pensions and Welfare Policies, Turin (Italy).
  5. Jappelli, Tullio & Padula, Mario, 2011. "Investment in Financial Literacy and Saving Decisions," CEPR Discussion Papers 8220, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Matthew Rabin & Ted O'Donoghue, 1999. "Doing It Now or Later," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 103-124, March.
  7. Giovanni Mastrobuoni & Matthew Weinberg, 2009. "Heterogeneity in Intra-monthly Consumption Patterns, Self-Control, and Savings at Retirement," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 163-89, August.
  8. Dohmen, Thomas J & Falk, Armin & Huffman, David & Sunde, Uwe, 2007. "Are Risk Aversion and Impatience Related to Cognitive Ability?," CEPR Discussion Papers 6398, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. S. Dellavigna., 2011. "Psychology and Economics: Evidence from the Field," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 5.
  10. James Banks & Cormac O'Dea & Zoë Oldfield, 2010. "Cognitive Function, Numeracy and Retirement Saving Trajectories," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(548), pages F381-F410, November.
  11. Piatek, Rémi & Pinger, Pia, 2010. "Maintaining (Locus of) Control? Assessing the Impact of Locus of Control on Education Decisions and Wages," IZA Discussion Papers 5289, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. Paul Bloxham & Thomas Betts, 2009. "Measures of Household Wealth for Australia," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 42(2), pages 217-231.
  13. Markus Frolich & Blaise Melly, 2010. "Estimation of quantile treatment effects with Stata," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 10(3), pages 423-457, September.
  14. Alejo, Javier & Gabrielli, Florencia & Sosa Escudero, Walter, 2011. "The distributive effects of education: an unconditional quantile regression approach," MPRA Paper 42933, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 2012.
  15. Sarah Brown & Karl Taylor, 2011. "Household finances and the 'Big Five' personality traits," Working Papers 2011025, The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics.
  16. Boyce, Christopher J. & Wood, Alex M., 2011. "Personality and the marginal utility of income: Personality interacts with increases in household income to determine life satisfaction," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 78(1-2), pages 183-191, April.
  17. Fournier, Jean-Marc & Koske, Isabell, 2013. "Public employment and earnings inequality: An analysis based on conditional and unconditional quantile regressions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 121(2), pages 263-266.
  18. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:105:y:1990:i:2:p:321-39 is not listed on IDEAS
  19. Koenker,Roger, 2005. "Quantile Regression," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521608275.
  20. Richard H. Thaler & Shlomo Benartzi, 2004. "Save More Tomorrow (TM): Using Behavioral Economics to Increase Employee Saving," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(S1), pages S164-S187, February.
  21. Fred Graham & Alan G. Isaac, 2000. "The Behavioral Life-Cycle Theory Of Consumer Behavior: Survey Evidence," Microeconomics 0004004, EconWPA.
  22. Deborah A. Cobb-Clark & Vincent Hildebrand, 2003. "The Wealth and Asset Holdings of U.S.-Born and Foreign-Born Households: Evidence from SIPP Data," Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers 89, McMaster University.
  23. Laibson, David I., 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," Scholarly Articles 4481499, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  24. Sergio Firpo & Nicole M. Fortin & Thomas Lemieux, 2007. "Unconditional Quantile Regressions," NBER Technical Working Papers 0339, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. Deborah A. Cobb-Clark & Sonja C. Kassenboehmer & Stefanie Schurer, 2012. "Healthy Habits: The Connection between Diet, Exercise, and Locus of Control," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2012n15, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
  26. James P. Smith & John J. McArdle & Robert Willis, 2010. "Financial Decision Making and Cognition in a Family Context," Working Papers 785, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  27. Cobb-Clark, Deborah A. & Schurer, Stefanie, 2011. "Two Economists’ Musings on the Stability of Locus of Control," IZA Discussion Papers 5630, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  28. Bijan J. Borah & Anirban Basu, 2013. "Highlighting Differences Between Conditional And Unconditional Quantile Regression Approaches Through An Application To Assess Medication Adherence," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(9), pages 1052-1070, 09.
  29. Sumit Agarwal & Bhashkar Mazumder, 2011. "Cognitive abilities and household financial decision making," Working Paper Series WP-2010-16, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  30. Richard Thaler & Shlomo Benartzi, 2004. "Save more tomorrow: Using behavioral economics to increase employee saving," Natural Field Experiments 00337, The Field Experiments Website.
  31. Mark Grinblatt & Matti Keloharju & Juhani Linnainmaa, 2011. "IQ and Stock Market Participation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 66(6), pages 2121-2164, December.
  32. Dimitrios Christelis & Tullio Jappelli & Mario Padula, 2006. "Cognitive Abilities and Portfolio Choice," CSEF Working Papers 157, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  33. Levin, Laurence, 1998. "Are assets fungible?: Testing the behavioral theory of life-cycle savings," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 59-83, July.
  34. James Banks & Zoë Oldfield, 2006. "Understanding pensions: cognitive function, numerical ability and retirement saving," IFS Working Papers W06/05, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  35. Peter Kooreman & Henriëtte Prast, 2010. "What Does Behavioral Economics Mean for Policy? Challenges to Savings and Health Policies in the Netherlands," De Economist, Springer, vol. 158(2), pages 101-122, June.
  36. Powell, James L., 1986. "Censored regression quantiles," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 143-155, June.
  37. Beverly, Sondra G. & Sherraden, Michael, 1999. "Institutional determinants of saving: implications for low-income households and public policy," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 457-473.
  38. Deborah A. Cobb-Clark & Vincent A. Hildebrand, 2009. "The Asset Portfolios of Native-born and Foreign-born Australian Households," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 85(268), pages 46-59, 03.
  39. Boyce, Christopher J. & Wood, Alex M., 2011. "Personality and the marginal utility of income: Personality interacts with increases in household income to determine life satisfaction," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 78(1), pages 183-191.
  40. Koenker, Roger W & Bassett, Gilbert, Jr, 1978. "Regression Quantiles," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(1), pages 33-50, January.
  41. S. Chatterjee & M. Finke & N. Harness, 2011. "The impact of self-efficacy on wealth accumulation and portfolio choice," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(7), pages 627-631.
  42. Vicki L. Bogan & Angela R. Fertig, 2013. "Portfolio Choice and Mental Health," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 17(3), pages 955-992.
  43. Francine D. Blau & John W. Graham, 1989. "Black-White Differences in Wealth and Asset Composition," NBER Working Papers 2898, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  44. Bruce Headey & Gary Marks & Mark Wooden, 2005. "The Structure and Distribution of Household Wealth in Australia," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 38(2), pages 159-175, 06.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iae:iaewps:wp2013n42. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Abbey Treloar)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.