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Household Finances and Attitudes towards Risk

Author

Listed:
  • Sarah Brown

    ()

  • Gaia Garino
  • Karl Taylor

    () (Department of Economics, The University of Sheffield)

Abstract

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Suggested Citation

  • Sarah Brown & Gaia Garino & Karl Taylor, 2008. "Household Finances and Attitudes towards Risk," Working Papers 2008005, The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics, revised Dec 2009.
  • Handle: RePEc:shf:wpaper:2008005
    as

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    File URL: http://www.shef.ac.uk/content/1/c6/08/38/04/SERP2008005.pdf
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    File URL: http://www.shef.ac.uk/content/1/c6/08/38/04/SERP2008005.pdf
    File Function: Revised version, 2008
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Luigi Guiso & Tullio Jappelli, 2000. "Household Portfolios in Italy," CSEF Working Papers 43, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
    2. Robert B. Barsky & Miles S. Kimball & F. Thomas Juster & Matthew D. Shapiro, 1995. "Preference Parameters and Behavioral Heterogeneity: An Experimental Approach in the Health and Retirement Survey," NBER Working Papers 5213, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Satyajit Chatterjee & Dean Corbae & Makoto Nakajima & José-Víctor Ríos-Rull, 2007. "A Quantitative Theory of Unsecured Consumer Credit with Risk of Default," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(6), pages 1525-1589, November.
    4. Reint Gropp & John Karl Scholz & Michelle J. White, 1997. "Personal Bankruptcy and Credit Supply and Demand," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(1), pages 217-251.
    5. Sarah Brown & Gaia Garino & Karl Taylor & Stephen Wheatley Price, 2005. "Debt and Financial Expectations: An Individual- and Household-Level Analysis," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 43(1), pages 100-120, January.
    6. 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 164-187, February.
    7. Donkers, Bas & van Soest, Arthur, 1999. "Subjective measures of household preferences and financial decisions," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 20(6), pages 613-642, December.
    8. Thaler, Richard H & Shefrin, H M, 1981. "An Economic Theory of Self-Control," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(2), pages 392-406, April.
    9. Jonathan Crook, 2001. "The demand for household debt in the USA: evidence from the 1995 Survey of Consumer Finance," Applied Financial Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(1), pages 83-91.
    10. Powell, James L., 1984. "Least absolute deviations estimation for the censored regression model," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 303-325, July.
    11. 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.
    12. Shaw, Kathryn L, 1996. "An Empirical Analysis of Risk Aversion and Income Growth," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(4), pages 626-653, October.
    13. Sarah Brown & Karl Taylor, 2005. "Household Debt and Financial Assets: Evidence from Great Britain, Germany and the United States," Discussion Papers in Economics 05/5, Department of Economics, University of Leicester.
    14. Robert B. Barsky & F. Thomas Juster & Miles S. Kimball & Matthew D. Shapiro, 1997. "Preference Parameters and Behavioral Heterogeneity: An Experimental Approach in the Health and Retirement Study," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 537-579.
    15. Benhabib, Jess & Bisin, Alberto, 2005. "Modeling internal commitment mechanisms and self-control: A neuroeconomics approach to consumption-saving decisions," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 460-492, August.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    We explore the relationship between risk preference and household finances; namely the level of unsecured debt and saving at the household level; within the context of a two period theoretical framework; which predicts that debt and saving are functions of risk aversion. We test the predictions of our theoretical framework for a sample of households drawn from the U.S. Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID). Using a sequence of questions from the 1996 PSID; we construct a measure of risk preference allowing us to explore the implications of interpersonal differences in risk preference for whether households hold unsecured debt and/or savings as well as exploring the relationship between risk preference and the accumulation of unsecured debt and savings at the household level. Our empirical findings suggest that risk preference is an important determinant of the level of unsecured debt acquired at the household level with risk aversion serving to reduce the level of unsecured debt accumulated by households; whilst risk preference does not appear to influence the level of financial assets at the household level.;

    JEL classification:

    • D18 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Protection
    • D84 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Expectations; Speculations
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making

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