Social determinants of debt problems in a Nordic welfare state: A Finnish register-based study.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Many developed Western countries have seen rapid rises in personal debt and consumer credit during recent decades. Debt problems have become a widely recognized and common concern. This study analysed debt problems among the Finnish adult population from 2005 to 2013. Previous research on indebtedness and financial problems has relied on surveys, and studies using precise, register-based information about the most excluded social groups are needed. The primary data were based on a nationally representative random sample of 91 931 Finnish residents aged 19 to 65. The data contained information from several administrative registers, including information about debt enforcement. Low socioeconomic status, male gender, age, marital status, number of children, and prior criminal convictions were associated with debt problems. Income was not associated with the amount of outstanding private receivables, indicating that debt problems do not only boil down to social stratification and poverty. The younger age group had a higher prevalence of debt problems and higher amounts of both private and public receivables. Low levels of education predicted both higher prevalence of debt problems and higher amounts of outstanding receivables. The results underline the importance of understanding the social mechanisms of financial behaviour.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Consumer Policy
Volume38
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)229–246
Number of pages18
ISSN0168-7034
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 5141 Sociology

Cite this

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title = "Social determinants of debt problems in a Nordic welfare state: A Finnish register-based study.",
abstract = "Many developed Western countries have seen rapid rises in personal debt and consumer credit during recent decades. Debt problems have become a widely recognized and common concern. This study analysed debt problems among the Finnish adult population from 2005 to 2013. Previous research on indebtedness and financial problems has relied on surveys, and studies using precise, register-based information about the most excluded social groups are needed. The primary data were based on a nationally representative random sample of 91 931 Finnish residents aged 19 to 65. The data contained information from several administrative registers, including information about debt enforcement. Low socioeconomic status, male gender, age, marital status, number of children, and prior criminal convictions were associated with debt problems. Income was not associated with the amount of outstanding private receivables, indicating that debt problems do not only boil down to social stratification and poverty. The younger age group had a higher prevalence of debt problems and higher amounts of both private and public receivables. Low levels of education predicted both higher prevalence of debt problems and higher amounts of outstanding receivables. The results underline the importance of understanding the social mechanisms of financial behaviour.",
keywords = "5141 Sociology",
author = "Oksanen Atte and Mikko Aaltonen and Rantala, {Kati Elina}",
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journal = "Journal of Consumer Policy",
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}

Social determinants of debt problems in a Nordic welfare state: A Finnish register-based study. / Atte, Oksanen; Aaltonen, Mikko; Rantala, Kati Elina.

In: Journal of Consumer Policy, Vol. 38, No. 3, 2015, p. 229–246.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Social determinants of debt problems in a Nordic welfare state: A Finnish register-based study.

AU - Atte, Oksanen

AU - Aaltonen, Mikko

AU - Rantala, Kati Elina

PY - 2015

Y1 - 2015

N2 - Many developed Western countries have seen rapid rises in personal debt and consumer credit during recent decades. Debt problems have become a widely recognized and common concern. This study analysed debt problems among the Finnish adult population from 2005 to 2013. Previous research on indebtedness and financial problems has relied on surveys, and studies using precise, register-based information about the most excluded social groups are needed. The primary data were based on a nationally representative random sample of 91 931 Finnish residents aged 19 to 65. The data contained information from several administrative registers, including information about debt enforcement. Low socioeconomic status, male gender, age, marital status, number of children, and prior criminal convictions were associated with debt problems. Income was not associated with the amount of outstanding private receivables, indicating that debt problems do not only boil down to social stratification and poverty. The younger age group had a higher prevalence of debt problems and higher amounts of both private and public receivables. Low levels of education predicted both higher prevalence of debt problems and higher amounts of outstanding receivables. The results underline the importance of understanding the social mechanisms of financial behaviour.

AB - Many developed Western countries have seen rapid rises in personal debt and consumer credit during recent decades. Debt problems have become a widely recognized and common concern. This study analysed debt problems among the Finnish adult population from 2005 to 2013. Previous research on indebtedness and financial problems has relied on surveys, and studies using precise, register-based information about the most excluded social groups are needed. The primary data were based on a nationally representative random sample of 91 931 Finnish residents aged 19 to 65. The data contained information from several administrative registers, including information about debt enforcement. Low socioeconomic status, male gender, age, marital status, number of children, and prior criminal convictions were associated with debt problems. Income was not associated with the amount of outstanding private receivables, indicating that debt problems do not only boil down to social stratification and poverty. The younger age group had a higher prevalence of debt problems and higher amounts of both private and public receivables. Low levels of education predicted both higher prevalence of debt problems and higher amounts of outstanding receivables. The results underline the importance of understanding the social mechanisms of financial behaviour.

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