Household Finance

Household Finance

SIF163 Household Finance

Project Manager: Mike Gallmeyer

BoV Approved: Summer 2019

The purpose of this proposal is to build research infrastructure in the field of household finance.

Project Dates: 12/01/2019 – 11/30/2022

Funding Awarded: $219,585

Executive Summary

How do people spend their money and why do they make the choices to buy certain things, save, etc.? Those are the questions a team from McIntire is seeking to answer. Their goal is to help students and others understand their choices and examine how they spend their money. They hope that their research will help both current students and generations to come, and will help establish UVA as a leader in household finance research.

Current Status: Active


Household finance began to emerge as a distinct field of economics, finance, and real estate about 15 years ago. The social and economic impact of COVID-19 has further accelerated interest in household finance scholarship. Overall, the discipline has focused on questions relating to how households make decisions about saving, borrowing, and investing their resources, and how these decisions are shaped by a multitude of social, economic, and political forces. The goal of the Household Finance Project is to provide a platform for UVA researchers, primarily through datasets, to be at the forefront of research in household finance.

We have acquired the datasets that were in our original and subsequently updated plans with the primary database being Experian Credit Bureau Data, a database that provides a comprehensive view of the financial status of U.S. households. Following the signing of the agreement in Fall 2020, and Quality Assurance tests carried out during Spring 2021, the data was obtained by UVA in late Spring 2021. Information about the data has been shared with interested researchers at Darden and the Department of Engineering Systems. 

A major remaining challenge is determining the best way to make this data more widely available to the broader UVA research community. This has been delayed due to issues raised during the Quality Assurance process and due to limitations in UVA Research Computing file-sharing protocols. In a pilot program sponsored by the Darden School of Business, the Experian Credit Bureau data is being hosted on a Microsoft Azure SQL Server outside of the UVA Research Computing infrastructure. Also, additional funding from the Mayo Center for Asset Management at Darden is supporting the hire of a part time Research Assistant to help format and analyze the data.  This should substantially speed up progress on research projects in the coming reporting period. We continue to work with UVA Research Computing to find the most economically feasible solution to make the household finance data more widely available to UVA researchers.

We continue to make progress towards research milestones. Advanced projects continue to be supported through the publication process. Exploratory analysis on early-stage projects is being used to prioritize the highest potential endeavors. To maintain the project’s long-term viability, the Household Finance Project is being rolled into McIntire’s real estate scholarship initiatives including the new Real Estate Minor and soon to be announced Center for Real Estate and the Build Environment.