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|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|8477||2009||11 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||9420 کلمه|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : The Journal of Socio-Economics, Volume 38, Issue 3, June 2009, Pages 519–529
Qualitative research in the UK has revealed a diversity of financial arrangements underlying separate systems of household financial management. One factor, identified in previous work, is perceived ownership of money, with financial practices differing according to whether couples have distinct, blurred or shared ownership perceptions. The present work aims to build on and extend this research, using data from an online survey study with 190 cohabitants in the UK. The findings reveal that ownership perceptions transcend separate money management categories, and can be a significant predictor of the type of contribution cohabitants make towards joint household expenses.
‘Some things are hidden if you just look at the way that money is arranged and you do not know what lies behind it’ (Interview participant Harry, p.478, Ashby and Burgoyne, 2008). In studies of household financial management, it is often assumed that couples using separate systems of money management, such as Independent money management (IM) and Partial pooling (PP) are behaving as two separate financial entities (Blumstein and Schwartz, 1983, Elizabeth, 2001, Heimdal and Houseknecht, 2003, Oropesa et al., 2003, Singh and Lindsay, 1996, Waite and Gallagher, 2000 and Vogler, 2005). However, a narrow focus on the money management system and the bank accounts used by couples can conceal some important differences in the way that money is both handled and perceived (Ashby and Burgoyne, 2008, also see Burgoyne et al., 2007, Nyman, 1999 and Nyman and Reinikalinen, 2007). One key factor that emerged from earlier research concerns the psychological-or perceived-ownership of money (Burgoyne et al., 2007). These authors identified a spectrum of ownership from distinct (where couples made a clear distinction between joint and individually-owned money), through blurred, where perceptions differed between partners or were in transition, to shared, where all money was regarded as being collectively owned, regardless of its source. In qualitative research by Ashby and Burgoyne (2008) the concept of ownership seemed to be an important determinant for the way that the money management systems of IM and PP operated in practice. Especially when there was a disparity in incomes between partners, there were different implications for individual well-being, depending on whether the couple had distinct, blurred or shared ownership perceptions. Ashby and Burgoyne (2008) concluded that asking questions about ownership perceptions in future research might help to provide a more fine-grained and accurate picture of how couples deal with financial issues (cf. Burgoyne et al., 2006). The present study builds on and extends this qualitative work, using data from a survey with 190 unmarried cohabitants in the UK to explore the financial practices and meanings behind IM and PP. In particular, the research aims to examine if ownership perceptions cut across the separate money management categories. In a similar vein to Ashby and Burgoyne (2008), Nyman and Reinikalinen (2007) advocate examining the meanings of money. In the latter's qualitative study with married couples they found that the definition of money's ownership, as ‘mine, yours or ours’ (p.65) conferred different meanings upon money, which in turn had implications for how money was used (Nyman and Reinikalinen, 2007). For women in particular, they found that having money that was defined as ‘mine’ versus ‘ours’ was an important source of economic independence. This research also has points of contact with Thaler's (1999) influential work on mental accounting, which challenges the economic assumption of fungibility of money. Mental accounting is ‘the set of cognitive operations used by individuals and households to organize, evaluate, and keep track of financial activities’ (Thaler, 1999, p.183). According to this theory individuals can hold a number of separate mental accounts for different expenditures (including for example, household bills, social expenses, personal spending), and the spending from each ‘account’ is constrained in different ways (see Burgoyne, 1995). For example, someone may not want to tap into resources from their household bills account to buy clothing for themselves (see Shefrin and Thaler, 1988). Ashby and Burgoyne's (2008) research indicates that partners with distinct and also blurred ownership perceptions can hold different mental accounts for shared/joint money on the one hand and personal money on the other. Zelizer's (1997) work from the field of economic sociology on the interpretations and the social meanings of money is also relevant here. In common with Thaler, Zelizer highlights the non-fungibility of money and in particular discusses how people differentiate between the kinds of money that come into their families. Zelizer (1997) points out that money earned by the wife is often treated and used differently from money earned by the husband or money earned by the child—and people care deeply about these distinctions. 1.1. Separate systems of money management Pahl's (1983) typology was initially developed on the basis of a substantial interview study with married couples to describe the different ways that partners could arrange their household finances. Pahl's typology identifies IM as a system where both partners keep their money in separate accounts, have their incomes paid into these accounts and typically do not have access to any joint sources of money (Pahl, 1995). PP has recently been identified for couples who keep a significant proportion of their money independently, but also have a joint account for household expenses (Burgoyne et al., 2007 and Pahl, 2005). Couples usually have their incomes paid into their separate accounts and then transfer an agreed sum into their joint account for collective expenses (Burgoyne et al., 2007). Until recently little research attention has been paid to these separate systems of money management (Elizabeth, 2001). This is in part because the research focus has been on married couples who typically have had such low levels of IM (2% or less), that analysis of this system has often been excluded (Pahl, 1995). However, research with remarried, same-sex, and heterosexual cohabiting couples, has often found much higher levels of separate money management (Ashby and Burgoyne, 2008 and Burns et al., 2008; Burgoyne and Morrison, 1997; Vogler et al., 2006 and Vogler et al., 2008). Recent studies with newly married couples have also found an increasing use of IM and PP (Burgoyne et al., 2007 and Pahl, 2005). The rising use of separate systems of money management has highlighted and heightened the need to explore the financial practices and meanings behind IM and PP (see Elizabeth, 2001). From her qualitative research in New Zealand, Elizabeth (2001) found that IM was adopted by couples in order to avoid financial dependency, and to feel autonomous and independent in the relationship by: (i) maintaining individual control over money and (ii) contributing equally towards expenses. However, defining equality in terms of equal contributions without taking account of income can lead to traditional inequalities in access to money, with the higher earning partner (predominantly male) having greater access to and control over their own separate money (Elizabeth, 2001). Vogler et al., 2006 and Vogler et al., 2008 draw comparable conclusions in their UK survey study with married and cohabiting couples. They found that IM and PP were most likely to be used by cohabiting respondents when one partner earned more than the other, whereas those who earned similar amounts were most likely to use the joint pool. In a context where men earn more than women, they also argue this can leave the male partner with greater access to discretionary spending money, and allow gender inequalities in the labour market to feed into the household (Vogler et al., 2006 and Vogler et al., 2008). In addition, they found cohabitants had a comparable level of income pooling to married couples, when they had children. However, in an in-depth qualitative study, Ashby and Burgoyne (2008) found that it was not always possible to read off financial practices based on the category labels of IM and PP alone. Some couples treated money in a much more collective way than the category labels implied. Indeed just as pooled money could be seen as separately owned (Burgoyne et al., 2007), money held in separate accounts could be seen as belonging to both partners in the couple. Furthermore, it was this sense of ownership that appeared to determine the degree of autonomy for each partner over the use of money (see Burgoyne et al., 2007). It was specifically those with distinct ownership perceptions who were found to define equality in terms of equal contributions and who were more likely to split the cost of these expenses equally, regardless of each partner's level of income. In contrast, when there was a disparity in earnings, those with blurred ownership were more likely to contribute proportionally to their earnings, which resulted in the lower earning partner having greater access to spending money than would have been the case if they contributed equally. Finally, for those using IM and PP with shared ownership perceptions, each partner felt they had access to all money, regardless of who earned it. In this way IM and PP resembled the joint pool (see Ashby and Burgoyne, 2008). The present study investigates these nuances in definitions of equality, and explores whether contributions towards joint expenses differ between those with distinct, blurred and shared ownership perceptions. 1.2. The psychology of ownership Etzioni (1991) pointed out that ownership is a ‘dual creation, part attitude, part object, part in the mind, part ‘real” (p.466). The psychology of ownership has been studied in a variety of contexts and across a range of disciplines, including psychology, sociology, anthropology, consumer behaviour, biology and philosophy (see Pierce et al., 2003, for a review). However, this research primarily focuses on the ownership of objects (both material and immaterial), rather than the ownership of money. Pierce et al. (2003) conceptually define psychological ownership as ‘the state in which individuals feel as though the target of ownership or a piece of that target is ‘theirs’ …. The sense of ownership manifests itself in the meaning and emotion commonly associated with my or mine or our’ (p.86). Etzioni (1991) and others have highlighted the distinction between psychological and legal ownership and the fact that the former can exist in absence of the latter (and vice versa). This was certainly true for cohabitants in Ashby and Burgoyne's (2008) study with shared ownership perceptions who arranged their money in separate accounts. Although these cohabitants may have viewed the money as belonging jointly to both partners, the fact they did not legally have rights to money or property registered solely in their partner's name could be problematic in the event of separation, or the death of one partner. This was highlighted in recent case law in the UK, where in an appeal case involving an unmarried cohabiting couple who had separated, the absence of a joint account and the use of separate accounts was taken as evidence of the couple's financial independence (see House of Lords, 2007, reporting the case of Stack versus Dowden). 1.3. Expectations and hypotheses In light of the earlier findings, discussed above, the following hypotheses were developed: (1) Cohabitants will be more likely to use separate systems of money management (including IM or PP), than the pooling, whole wage or housekeeping systems. (2) Ownership perceptions will be independent of the category labels of IM and PP. (3) Perceiving money as shared will be associated with contributing different amounts towards joint household expenses rather than equal contributions. (4) Cohabitants using IM and PP will be more likely to make equal contributions towards joint expenses when (i) they have no children; (ii) partners earn roughly the same amount; and (iii) they perceive money as distinctly owned. In addition to investigating the above hypotheses, the present study examines the relationship between the money management system cohabitants report and other financial information they provided (including for example the bank accounts they had). Versions of Pahl, 1989 and Pahl, 1995 typology are frequently used in surveys to classify how couples are managing their money. Yet there is very little research on the relationship between participants’ and researchers’ understandings of the money management systems (Sonnenberg, 2008). Exploring ownership perceptions in the present study provided an opportunity to investigate whether participants rely on objective or subjective information when indicating their money management system. For example, when participants perceive money as jointly owned but use separate accounts do they report IM or a pooling system?
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
This study had a number of limitations which merit discussion. First, the hypotheses indicate that perceiving the ownership of money as shared, blurred or distinct, could lead to different financial practices. Whilst this is a plausible prediction based on the findings from qualitative studies, since the present data were correlational in nature they cannot be used to support causal interpretations. For example, it is also possible that ownership perceptions are influenced by the financial practices couples adopt. In future work, experimental research designs are needed to test for causal relationships. Additionally, further research is required to investigate the origins of different ownership perceptions, including the extent to which partners believe money should be shared or kept independently in cohabiting relationships (see Burgoyne et al., 2006). A second limitation relates to the cohabitants who took part in this study. A majority of the sample were in dual earner couples without children. The latter was advantageous in allowing an in-depth understanding of this group of cohabitants to be explored, because previous research in the UK has focused on couples with children. However, this does mean that further research is required to examine whether the present findings can generalise to cohabitants with children, who are also likely to be in dual-earner relationships. It is important to examine how the employment status of each partner impacts on his or her perceptions and use of money. Furthermore, as the majority of the sample in the survey was female, the extent to which the present findings can be generalised to male cohabitants will need to be investigated in future research. Finally, including data from both partners in a couple would allow a more thorough examination of potential gender differences in ownership perceptions. Nonetheless, despite these limitations, the present study provided detailed information on the financial arrangements of a larger group of cohabitants than has been possible in earlier qualitative studies. It also gave an opportunity to test some of the previous (qualitative) findings in a much larger sample. In terms of theoretical implications the findings of the present and earlier studies indicate the need to move beyond Pahl, 1989 and Pahl, 1995 typology in its current form to explore the potential diversity of meanings and practices of financial management within the categories of IM and PP. It is clear from the present findings that when IM and PP participants respond to the category labels, some do so on the basis of their bank accounts, and some on the basis of their perceptions of ownership, i.e. how they think about the money in various accounts (see Ashby and Burgoyne, 2008). Collecting data on ownership perceptions, as well as the extent to which couples adhere to a strict 50/50 split of household and leisure expenses, may provide a more accurate picture of cohabitants’ financial practices and individual access to resources. Such an approach would also help to resolve any ambiguities regarding the extent to which participants (and researchers in qualitative research) relied on subjective or objective information when classifying a couple's system of money management.