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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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  • Marianna Brunetti & Elena Giarda & Costanza Torricelli, 2012. "Is Financial Fragility a Matter of Illiquidity? An Appraisal for Italian Households," CEIS Research Paper 242, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 18 Jul 2012.
  • Handle: RePEc:rtv:ceisrp:242

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. McCarthy, Yvonne, 2011. "Behavioural characteristics and financial distress," Working Paper Series 1303, European Central Bank.
    2. Elena Giarda, 2010. "Persistency of financial distress amongst Italian households: evidence from dynamic probit models," Quaderni di Dipartimento 3, Department of Statistics, University of Bologna.
    3. 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.
    4. 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).
    5. 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.
    6. Jappelli Tullio & Pagano Marco & Di Maggio Marco, 2013. "Households' indebtedness and financial fragility," Journal of Financial Management, Markets and Institutions, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 1, pages 23-46, January.
    7. Olsen, Randall & Dunn, Lucia, 2010. "Housing price declines and household balance sheets," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 107(2), pages 161-164, May.
    8. 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.
    9. 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.
    10. 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.
    11. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Costanza Torricelli & Maria Cesira Urzì Brancati & Marco Santantonio, 2016. "Does Homeownership Partly Explain Low Participation in Supplementary Pension Schemes?," Economic Notes, Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA, vol. 45(2), pages 179-203, July.
    2. Laura Bartiloro & Cristiana Rampazzi, 2013. "Italian households� saving and wealth during the crisis," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 148, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    3. Elisabetta Gualandri & Valeria Venturelli, 2013. "The financing of Italian firms and the credit crunch: findings and exit strategies," Centro Studi di Banca e Finanza (CEFIN) (Center for Studies in Banking and Finance) 13101, Universita di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Dipartimento di Economia "Marco Biagi".
    4. C. Pederzoli & C. Torricelli, 2013. "Efficiency and unbiasedness of corn futures markets: new evidence across the financial crisis," Applied Financial Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(24), pages 1853-1863, December.
    5. SIERMINSKA Eva & ROSSI Cristina, 2016. "Housing Decisions, Family Types and Gender. A cross-national perspective," LISER Working Paper Series 2016-10, LISER.
    6. Mariacristina Rossi & Eva Sierminska, 2015. "Housing Decisions, Family Types and Gender. A look across LIS countries," LIS Working papers 654, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    7. Piotr Bialowolski & Dorota Weziak-Bialowolska, 2014. "The Index of Household Financial Condition, Combining Subjective and Objective Indicators: An Appraisal of Italian Households," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 118(1), pages 365-385, August.
    8. Marianna Brunetti & Costanza Torricelli, 2012. "Second Homes: Households' Life Dream or (Wrong) Investment?," CEIS Research Paper 351, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 04 Aug 2012.
    9. Stefano Cosma & Elisabetta Gualandri, 2014. "The sovereign debt crisis: the impact on the intermediation model of Italian banks," BANCARIA, Bancaria Editrice, vol. 2, pages 48-60, February.
    10. Carlo Alberto Magni, 2015. "Pseudo-naïve approaches to investment performance measurement," Centro Studi di Banca e Finanza (CEFIN) (Center for Studies in Banking and Finance) 15021, Universita di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Dipartimento di Economia "Marco Biagi".
    11. Massimo Baldini & Giovanni Gallo & Costanza Torricelli, 2017. "Past Income Scarcity and Current Perception of Financial Fragility," Centro Studi di Banca e Finanza (CEFIN) (Center for Studies in Banking and Finance) 17121, Universita di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Dipartimento di Economia "Marco Biagi".
    12. Agnese Romiti & Mariacristina Rossi, 2014. "Wealth decumulation, portfolio composition and financial literacy among European elderly," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 375, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
    13. Enrico Rubaltelli & Sergio Agnoli & Michela Rancan & Tiziana Pozzoli, 2015. "Emotional Intelligence and risk taking in investment decision-making," Centro Studi di Banca e Finanza (CEFIN) (Center for Studies in Banking and Finance) 15107, Universita di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Dipartimento di Economia "Marco Biagi".
    14. Marianna Brunetti & Rocco Ciciretti & Ljubica Djordjevic, 2016. "Till Mortgage Do Us Part: Refinancing Costs and Household’s Bank Switching," CEIS Research Paper 364, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 13 Dec 2017.
    15. Mariacristina Rossi & Eva Sierminska, 2015. "Housing Decisions, Family Types and Gender: A Look across LIS Countries," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 815, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).

    More about this item


    financial fragility; household portfolios; housing;

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • C25 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models; Discrete Regressors; Proportions; Probabilities

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