Household characteristics and the change of financial risk tolerance during the financial crisis in the United States

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This study examines how household financial risk tolerance is affected during the period of 2007 and 2009, which covered the eve and trough of the financial crisis in the United States and what types of households are associated with the change of risk tolerance. Risk tolerance is measured by two objective indicators, narrowly and broadly defined stock ownership, and a subjective indicator, risk taking attitude. Using panel data from 2007 to 2009 Survey of Consumer Finances, results show that during the financial crisis, the households in general are more risk averse, indicated by withdrawing from stock markets and holding a less risk taking attitude. In addition, Black and Hispanic households are more likely and households with higher education are less likely to withdraw from stock markets. Older households are less likely to change in risk tolerance during the financial crisis, as are richer households. The findings show panel data could generate novel results and contribute to the literature of financial risk tolerance.

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International Journal of Consumer Studies