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Regular version of the site

Sociology of Financial Behavior

Academic Year
Instruction in English
ECTS credits
Delivered at:
School of Sociology
Course type:
Elective course
3 year, 1, 2 module


Course Syllabus


The «Sociology of consumer finance» Bachelor Program is developed according to the standard educational requirements of the Federal State Autonomous Educational Institution of Higher Education «National Research University «Higher School of Economics» (HSE). Students are supposed to be familiar with Probability Theory and Statistics and Economics.
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • The main goal of this unit is to develop a critical, reflexive, and interdisciplinary approach to key problems in contemporary research on financial behaviour of households.
  • To know theoretical models of household saving behaviour which are developed in economic theory, economic psychology and economic sociology
  • To develop analytical skills to understand and interpret macro and micro statistics on household incomes and finance, and produce evidence based arguments
  • To have an overview of the results of empirical research on consumer finance studies
  • To develop research-related skills - to evaluate different research designs and methods, to formulate researchable questions, to construct questionnaire/interview guide, to write analytical reports using the data from national surveys or official statistics
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • to know conceptual and operational definitions of financial literacy and financial capability, as well as the results of international comparisons of financial literacy of individuals.
  • to know the causes and long-run macroeconomic implications of the rise in household indebtedness.
  • to know theoretical approaches and empirical research on the control and allocation of money within households, systems of money management in the families
  • to know theoretical models of households savings behaviour which are developed in behavioural economics
  • to know theoretical models of households savings behaviour which are developed in economic psychology
  • to know theoretical models of households savings behaviour which are developed in economic theory
  • to understand and interpret macro and micro statistics on household incomes and savings
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • The main concepts and definitions of financial behaviour of households. Conceptual and operational defenitions
  • Macro statistics of household finance
  • Operational definitions and survey questions
  • Micro statistics of household finance
  • Economic models of personal savings
  • Psychological approach to studying savings behaviour of household
  • Behavioral economics of personal finance
  • Family budget management studies in sociology
  • Financial literacy and financial capability of individuals
  • Trust to financial institutions and savings, financial vulnerability of households
  • The sociology of consumer credit
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking class participation
  • non-blocking Test
  • non-blocking Presentation
  • non-blocking Research proposal
  • non-blocking Theory test
  • non-blocking Task
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • 2023/2024 2nd module
    0.2 * Presentation + 0.2 * Research proposal + 0.2 * Task + 0.15 * Test + 0.15 * Theory test + 0.1 * class participation


Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Deaton, A. (1991). Saving and Liquidity Constraints. Econometrica, (5), 1221. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsrep&AN=edsrep.a.ecm.emetrp.v59y1991i5p1221.48
  • Deaton, A. (1992). Understanding Consumption. Oxford University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsrep&AN=edsrep.b.oxp.obooks.9780198288244
  • Denizer, C., Wolf, H. C., & Ying, Y. (2000). Household Savings in Transition Economies. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsbas&AN=edsbas.45A1AEDC
  • H. M. Shefrin, & Richard Thaler. (1977). An Economic Theory of Self-Control. NBER Working Papers. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsrep&AN=edsrep.p.nbr.nberwo.0208
  • Mental budgeting and the management of household finance. (2011). Journal of Economic Psychology, 32(4), 546–555. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsnar&AN=edsnar.oai.library.wur.nl.wurpubs.419402
  • Morvan, C., & J. Jenkins, W. (2017). Judgment Under Uncertainty : Heuristics and Biases. Milton: Macat Library. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=1552188
  • Paul R. Gregory, Manouchehr Mokhtari, & Wolfram Schrettl. (1999). Do The Russians Really Save That Much? - Alternate Estimates From The Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey. The Review of Economics and Statistics, (4), 694. https://doi.org/10.1162/003465399558418
  • Shefrin, H. M., & Thaler, R. H. (1988). The Behavioral Life-Cycle Hypothesis. Economic Inquiry, (4), 609. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsrep&AN=edsrep.a.oup.ecinqu.v26y1988i4p609.43
  • Shorrocks, A. F. (1975). The Age-Wealth Relationship: A Cross-Section and Cohort Analysis. The Review of Economics and Statistics, (2), 155. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsrep&AN=edsrep.a.tpr.restat.v57y1975i2p155.63
  • Skoufias, E. (2004). Consumption smoothing during the economic transition in Bulgaria. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsbas&AN=edsbas.6AA15472
  • Souleles, N. S. (2002). Consumer response to the Reagan tax cuts. Journal of Public Economics, (1), 99. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsrep&AN=edsrep.a.eee.pubeco.v85y2002i1p99.120

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • Richard H. Thaler. (2018). From Cashews to Nudges: The Evolution of Behavioral Economics. American Economic Review, (6), 1265. https://doi.org/10.1257/aer.108.6.1265