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Driving the poor into debt? Automobile loans, transport disadvantage, and automobile dependence

Alan Walks

Transport Policy, 2018, vol. 65, issue C, 137-149

Abstract: The disadvantages relating to the financialization of household transport and transport-related debt have yet to receive sufficient attention, partly due to a general lack of data on household-level transport-related liabilities, particularly at small scales of analysis. This issue has risen in importance with increases in households debt levels and changes in the ways automobile purchases are financed. This paper examines the level of automobile-related debt among lower-income households, and the effects of living in automobile-dependent neighbourhoods, using seven of the largest Canadian metropolitan areas as case studies. Detailed household survey data pertaining to both automobile loans and other forms of debt in 2012 are analyzed and compared with census data related to automobile dependence at the neighbourhood (census tract) level. Descriptive and inferential analyses are presented, demonstrating relationships between levels of automobile dependence and higher relative burdens of household indebtedness, particularly for automobile loans, although the relationships are dependent on, and mediated by, local context. The implications for transport policy are discussed.

Keywords: Automobile dependence; Financial vulnerability; Debt; Transport disadvantage; Transport exclusion; Suburbanization (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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Handle: RePEc:eee:trapol:v:65:y:2018:i:c:p:137-149