The Life Course Research Framework: Illustrative Application in the Study of Financial Behaviors

  • George P. Moschis


Research efforts in the field of personal finance are yet to benefit from recent theoretical and methodological developments in behavioral and social sciences that have advanced the life course paradigm as the leading research framework for studying behavior over time (e.g., Colby 1998; Elder et al. 2003; George 2003; Mayer and Tuma 1990). For example, although this multi-theoretical paradigm is mentioned as a viable research framework for the study of behavioral and mental changes that surround the critical life event of retirement and the impact of these changes on psychological well-being (Hershey and Henkens 2013), there is limited research on the experienced and expected consequences of this transition on the individual’s financial behaviors. Similarly, models of financial behavior that attempt to incorporate life course theory and concepts (e.g., Hershey et al. 2010) are void of many key elements of the life course paradigm. For example, although the life course “principles” of time and timing have important implications for the development of financial solvency (Hershey and Jacobs-Lawson 2012), they are absent from recent multi-theoretical formulations (e.g., Hershey et al. 2010). Another drawback in previous research efforts is inherent in the analytic methods commonly used (e.g., regression, probit, logit, discriminant), as such methods not only are inferior to more recently developed analytic models, collectively known as “event history analysis” (EHA) (e.g., Frazer et al. 1994; Mayer and Tuma 1990), but also inappropriate for analyzing development and changes of behavior. The latter methods have facilitated the development of the life course approach as the leading research framework (Mayer and Tuma 1990) that is considered one of the most important achievements of social science and behavioral sciences (Colby 1998).


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Authors and Affiliations

  • George P. Moschis
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of MarketingGeorgia State UniversityAtlantaUSA

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