Is Financial Fragility a Matter of Illiquidity? An Appraisal for Italian Households

Brunetti MariannaGiarda ElenaTorricelli Costanza
CEIS Research Paper
In this paper we investigate household financial fragility and assess the role played by the composition of the household portfolio besides standard determinants of this condition (e.g. income, indebtedness, age, gender, financial literacy). We take the case of Italy, given the very peculiar portfolio composition (high level of housing and low level of indebtedness and portfolio diversification) and provide two main contributions. First, we propose a novel definition of financial fragility. Second, based on this new measure, we use data from the 1998-2010 Bank of Italy Survey on Household Income and Wealth to investigate the determinants of this condition. Our results confirm most usual markers of financial fragility and additionally highlight the role of homeownership, which is not related to the presence of mortgages but it is rather connected to specific socio-demographic features such as age and marital status.
Number: 242
Keywords: financial fragility, household portfolios, housing
JEL codes: D14, G11, C25
Date: Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Revision Date: Wednesday, July 18, 2012