Household decisions on fi nancial services: the role of the wife
As the fi nancial economy has expanded worldwide, fi nancial institutions have increased the number of products they sell to households, such as mortgages, mutual funds, stock trading accounts, loans, insurance and various forms of savings and retirement products. The result has been a profound deepening of households’ involvement in fi nancial market activities (Fligstein and Goldstein 2012 ). For example, in credit markets, median household debt levels increased 179 percent from 1989 to 2007 as consumers took on an ever-wider array of credit card, home equity, mortgage, student and payday loans (Wolff 2007 ). Similarly, with respect to investment products, the percentage of households with stock equities or equity mutual funds increased in the decade before and after the turn of the twenty-fi rst century and the frequency of transactions more than tripled in this time period (Kremp 2010 ).