Debt problems

Debt problems have been the subject of research by the institute for several decades. At the beginning, the research tradition focused especially on the adjustment of debts of a private individual, but the direction changed in the 2010s. Since then, the central theme has been in studying the prevalence of debt problems, to find which sections of the population in particular have debt problems, acknowledge which factors contribute to the emergence of debt problems, and how different types of debt are distributed. Unpaid debts form multidimensional problems, which have far-reaching implications both for lives of individuals and society as a whole. Our basic research has a part in developing systems and support measures for services.

Due to the diversity of debt problems and, for example, assessing the impact of legislation, it is important to look at debt problems on a large scale using different kinds of data sets. In recent years, we have conducted basic research on the individual based data on debt enforcement and district court debt judgments. In particular, administrative data on debt enforcement provides access to debt problems on health care fees, tax arrears and fines. Debt judgment data gives an overview for debt problems arising from consumer credit. The debt enforcement data have provided a good picture of the overall extent of Finns’ debt problems and the debt problems of young people, while with data based on debt judgments, we have studied how the interest rate cap regulation have affected debt problems originated from instant loans.