European Macroeconomics & Governance / COVID-19 / financial assistance / financial literacy / welfare state

The financial fragility of European households in the time of COVID-19

Posted On: Jul 2, 2020   |   Posted By: Bruegel

• The concept of household financial fragility emerged in the United States after the 2007-2008 financial crisis. It grew out of the need to understand whether households' lack of capacity to face shocks could itself become a source of financial instability, in addition to risks to the stability of banks and the greater financial system. The concept goes beyond assessing the level of assets and encompasses the state of household balance sheets, including indebtedness. It relies also on individual perceptions of the ability to rely on families and friends and other methods to deal with shocks, though such aspects are less easy to measure and rely frequently on self-assessments.
• In the wake of COVID-19, we ask how well-prepared households were in the European Union to handle an unexpected expense. Two years before the pandemic hit, a substantial share of EU households reported that they would be unable to handle unexpected expenses. In some EU countries, many households had...

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