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Essays on Household Finance


Summary, in English

This doctoral dissertation consists of three self-contained essays covering different aspects of household finance.

The first paper, Bank Competition and Household Non-Housing Debt: Evidence from U.S. Bank Deregulation, examines the effect of bank deregulation in the U.S. on household non-housing debt. Using household level data from 1984 to 2000, I find that deregulation increases non-housing debt as well as the ratio of non-housing debt to income, with the effects mainly driven by households in the upper half of the income distribution and by auto loans. I show that deregulation has no impact on the leverage of households in the lower half of the income distribution; the increase in debt among these households is proportional to their increase in income following deregulation.

The second paper, Inequality and Household Mortgage Demand: Evidence from HMDA Application Data, uses aggregated mortgage applications at the county level compiled from Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) data to examine the relationship between the change in household mortgage demand and the change in inequality between 1998 and 2017 in the United States. This paper’s main finding is that mortgage demand is, in general, negatively associated with inequality. However, in areas with lower segregation, the association is smaller in scale; in fact, the sign is even overturned in certain specifications, indicating that exposure to rich households is important for inequality to induce mortgage demand.

The third paper, Retail Investor Attention and SPAC Characteristics and Returns, examines the link between retail attention and SPAC characteristics and returns using data from various sources, including posts on the online forum Reddit. The paper finds that retail investors pay more attention to SPACs with larger market capitalization, more monetary investment from sponsors, and industries that are the subject of intense discussion in the stock market. Through an event study of SPAC merger announcements, the paper finds that SPACs that attract more retail attention ahead of the merger announcement see a sharp decrease in abnormal returns after the announcement. In contrast, in the absence of such prior retail attention, such pattern in abnormal returns is not observed. In addition, retail sentiment can account for a substantial proportion of the cross-sectional cumulative abnormal returns.

Publishing year





Lund Economic Studies



Document type



Lund University


  • Economics


  • household finance
  • household debt
  • mortgage
  • bank deregulation
  • credit supply
  • inequality
  • special purpose acquisition company
  • retail attention




  • ISSN: 0460-0029
  • ISBN: 978-91-8039-800-8
  • ISBN: 978-91-8039-799-5

Defence date

16 October 2023

Defence time


Defence place



  • Alexander Schandlbauer (Professor)