Discussion paper

DP14502 Household Finance

Household financial decisions are complex, interdependent, and heterogeneous, and central to the functioning of the financial system. We present an overview of the rapidly expanding literature on household finance (with some important exceptions) and suggest directions for future research. We begin with the theory and empirics of asset market participation and asset allocation over the lifecycle. We then discuss household choices in insurance markets, trading behavior, decisions on retirement saving, and financial choices by retirees. We survey research on liabilities, including mortgage choice, refinancing, and default, and household behavior in unsecured credit markets, including credit cards and payday lending. We then connect the household to its social environment, including peer effects, cultural and hereditary factors, intra-household financial decision making, financial literacy, cognition and educational interventions. We also discuss literature on the provision and consumption of financial advice.


Gomes, F, M Haliassos and T Ramadorai (2020), ‘DP14502 Household Finance‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 14502. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp14502