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Is Financial Fragility a Matter of Illiquidity? An Appraisal for Italian Households

In this paper we investigate household financial fragility and assess the role played by the composition of the household portfolio besides standard determinants of this condition (e.g. income, indebtedness, age, gender, financial literacy). We take the case of Italy, given the very peculiar portfolio composition (high level of housing and low level of indebtedness and portfolio diversification) and provide two main contributions. First, we propose a novel definition of financial fragility. Second, based on this new measure, we use data from the 1998-2010 Bank of Italy Survey on Household Income and Wealth to investigate the determinants of this condition. Our results confirm most usual markers of financial fragility and additionally highlight the role of homeownership, which is not related to the presence of mortgages but it is rather connected to specific socio-demographic features such as age and marital status.

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Paper provided by Tor Vergata University, CEIS in its series CEIS Research Paper with number 242.

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Length: 23 pages
Date of creation: 18 Jul 2012
Date of revision: 18 Jul 2012
Handle: RePEc:rtv:ceisrp:242
Contact details of provider: Postal: CEIS - Centre for Economic and International Studies - Faculty of Economics - University of Rome "Tor Vergata" - Via Columbia, 2 00133 Roma
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  1. Marcelo Fuenzalida & Jaime Ruiz-Tagle, 2011. "Household Financial Vulnerability," Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series, in: Rodrigo Alfaro (ed.), Financial Stability, Monetary Policy, and Central Banking, edition 1, volume 15, chapter 10, pages 299-326 Central Bank of Chile.
  2. McCarthy, Yvonne, 2011. "Behavioural characteristics and financial distress," Working Paper Series 1303, European Central Bank.
  3. Georgarakos, Dimitris & Lojschova, Adriana & Ward-Warmedinger, Melanie E., 2009. "Mortgage Indebtedness and Household Financial Distress," IZA Discussion Papers 4631, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Tullio Jappelli & Marco Pagano & Marco di Maggio, 2008. "Households’ Indebtedness and Financial Fragility," CSEF Working Papers 208, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy, revised 09 Sep 2010.
  5. Mizuho Kida, 2009. "Financial vulnerability of mortgage-indebted households in New Zealand - evidence from the Household Economic Survey," Reserve Bank of New Zealand Bulletin, Reserve Bank of New Zealand, vol. 72, pages 5-12, March.
  6. Umar Faruqui, 2008. "Indebtedness and the Household Financial Health: An Examination of the Canadian Debt Service Ratio Distribution," Staff Working Papers 08-46, Bank of Canada.
  7. Sarah Brown & Karl Taylor, 2008. "Household debt and financial assets: evidence from Germany, Great Britain and the USA," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 171(3), pages 615-643.
  8. Nakajima, Makoto & Telyukova, Irina A., 2014. "Reverse mortgage loans: a quantitative analysis," Working Papers 14-27, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  9. Holger Kraft & Claus Munk, 2011. "Optimal Housing, Consumption, and Investment Decisions over the Life Cycle," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 57(6), pages 1025-1041, June.
  10. Olsen, Randall & Dunn, Lucia, 2010. "Housing price declines and household balance sheets," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 107(2), pages 161-164, May.
  11. Marianna Brunetti & Costanza Torricelli, 2010. "Population age structure and household portfolio choices in Italy," The European Journal of Finance, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(6), pages 481-502.
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