Europa Regionum

ISSN: 1428-278X    OAI    DOI: 10.18276/er.2017.30-04
CC BY-SA   Open Access 

Issue archive / t. 30 2017
Household Overindebtedness in Germany – Behavioral, Social and Socio-Economic actors

Authors: Dieter Korczak
dr, GP Forschungsgruppe
Keywords: overindebtedness behavioral finance household finance
Year of publication:2017
Page range:17 (49-65)
Cited-by (Crossref) ?:


The aim of this paper is to analyze overindebtedness as a result of a process in which behavioral, social and socio-economic factors interact. Furthermore, the growing importance of overindebtedness is linked to the challenges of a society which has transformed to a “risk society”. The “new” risks – including de-regulation, liberalization and globalization – require high everyday life coping strategies which are obviously not given for a relevant share of the German population. As a result, constantly around 3.3 million (8%) German households are overindebted. The developments and underlying factors of this societal problem are analyzed by biographical interviews with overindebted youth and by longitudinal statistical data from different research sources and the Federal Statistical Office. The paper is based on 25 years of overindebtedness research in Germany. The analytical approach considers the whole life span of persons and discusses the age related main factors of overindebtedness. There are different factors in childhood, adolescence, young adulthood until senior age which influence capabilities, capacities and resources and lead (later) to overindebtedness. It is argued that the increased use of behavioral data for credit-scoring systems does not reduce overindebtedness.
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