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Self-control and debt: evidence from data on credit counselling

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  • Nur Ata Nurcan
  • Alena Bicakova

Abstract

Counselling agencies assist borrowers in financial difficulties by administering repayment plans, the so-called debt management plans (DMPs). In this paper, we use unique administrative data from a major credit counselling agency in the UK to analyze the determinants of debt repayment performance of approximately 60,000 borrowers who are enrolled on a DMP. Employing survival analysis, we estimate that borrowers who smoke and who reported poor financial management as the reason for their repayment difficulties at the enrollment stage are significantly more likely to fail on a DMP even when controlling for a rich set of covariates including monthly DMP payments, income, expenditures, self-reported experiences of negative shocks prior to DMP (illness, job loss, divorce, pregnancy), gender, age, marital status, having a mortgage, and whether the consumer is self or full time employed. In particular, smoking increases the probability of failing on a DMP by 31 percent and admitting bad financial management increases by 12 percent. Our findings lend considerable support to the view that self-control considerations play a role in households' indebtedness and consequent repayment difficulties.

Suggested Citation

  • Nur Ata Nurcan & Alena Bicakova, 2010. "Self-control and debt: evidence from data on credit counselling," Economics Series Working Papers 504, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:504
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    File URL: http://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/materials/working_papers/paper504.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. van Rooij, Maarten & Lusardi, Annamaria & Alessie, Rob, 2011. "Financial literacy and stock market participation," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(2), pages 449-472, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Da Silva, Sergio & Da Costa Jr, Newton & Matsushita, Raul & Vieira, Cristiana & Correa, Ana & De Faveri, DinorĂ¡, 2017. "Debt of high-income consumers may reflect leverage rather than poor cognitive reflection," MPRA Paper 79518, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Goode, Jackie, 2012. "Brothers are doing it for themselves?: Men's experiences of getting into and getting out of debt," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 327-335.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Quasi-hyperbolic discounting; Self control; Households' repayment difficulties; Credit counselling; Debt management plans;

    JEL classification:

    • G2 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making

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