NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Attitudes Toward Debt and Debt Behavior

Johan Almenberg, Annamaria Lusardi, Jenny Säve-Söderbergh, Roine Vestman

NBER Working Paper No. 24935
Issued in August 2018, Revised in August 2019
NBER Program(s):Program on the Economics of Aging

We introduce a novel survey measure of attitude toward debt. Matching our survey results with panel data on Swedish household balance sheets from registry data, we show that our debt attitude measure helps explain individual variation in indebtedness as well as debt build-up and consumption behavior in the period 2004–2007. As an explanatory variable, debt attitude compares well to a number of other determinants of debt, including education, risk-taking, and financial literacy. We also provide evidence that debt attitude is passed down along family lines and has a cultural element.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w24935

 
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