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Household debt and social interactions

  • Georgarakos, Dimitris
  • Haliassos, Michalis
  • Pasini, Giacomo

Debt-induced crises, including the subprime, are usually attributed exclusively to supply-side factors. We uncover an additional factor contributing to debt culture, namely social influences emanating from the perceived average income of peers. Using unique information from a representative household survey of the Dutch population that circumvents the need to define the social circle, we consider collateralized, consumer, and informal loans. We find robust social effects on borrowing - especially among those who consider themselves poorer than their peers - and on indebtedness, suggesting a link to financial distress. We check the robustness of our results using several approaches to rule out spurious associations and handle correlated effects.

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Paper provided by Research Center SAFE - Sustainable Architecture for Finance in Europe, Goethe University Frankfurt in its series SAFE Working Paper Series with number 1.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:safewp:1
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