Debt Judgments as a Reflection of Consumption-Related Debt Problems
K. Majamaa (),
A.-R. Lehtinen () and
K. Rantala ()
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K. Majamaa: University of Helsinki
A.-R. Lehtinen: Consumer Society Research Centre
K. Rantala: University of Helsinki
Journal of Consumer Policy, 2019, vol. 42, issue 2, No 3, 223-244
Abstract In connection with the strengthening and enlargement of financial markets, i.e., financialization, financial services and products play a major role in the everyday lives of consumers. One drawback of this trend is the increase in the number of debt problems. The data used in this article consist of Finnish district-court judgments related to debt that in most cases was consumption-related, and register-based data on debtors. We first compare debtors to the entire population of Finland by age, gender, marital status, and education, and also in different age groups. The focus then turns to the four most common types of debt in the judgments (based on consumer credit, operator services, distance selling, and credit card debts), and how age, gender, marital status, and education related to these debt types. According to the results, consumers under 30 years of age, in particular, men, those with a basic level of education, and the divorced were over-represented in the data, compared to the overall Finnish population. Young single adults were particularly likely to have accrued smaller amounts of debt related to instant loans and operator services, whereas more extensive consumer credit as well as credit card debt tended to be a problem among retirees. Credit card debt, as well as debts to lending firms, were more common among those with tertiary education than among those with a basic education. Overall, the adverse effects of financialization focused especially on young people with a low level of education. The results also indicate that legislation could partly reduce the negative effects of financialization.
Keywords: Debt problem; Debt judgment; Consumer credit; Young adults; Financialization; Finland (search for similar items in EconPapers)
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