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Using a new nationally representative survey of financial capability and experience in the UK and Ireland, the author investigates the key factors that cause individuals to experience financial distress. In this context, a key area that the author focuses on is whether individuals' behavioural traits, such as their capacities for self-control, planning, and patience, affect their ability to stay out of financial trouble. The author finds that the variables that proxy for these behavioural characteristics are both statistically significant and economically important for predicting both mild and extreme forms of financial distress, in a regression controlling for demographic and socio-economic factors.
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