Students and the Consumer Credit Market: Towards a Social Policy Agenda

Isabelle Szmigin, Deidre O'Loughlin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)


The rise in access to complex consumer credit arrangements has taken place against a backdrop of a call for increased individual responsibility. Consumers are required to behave in a way which recognizes both their rights and responsibilities. But how much responsibility should they be expected to shoulder in critical areas of complex choice? Students represent a particular group of novice, sometimes vulnerable and often targeted consumers, who may display limited financial capability and responsibility. In addition to arguments for a more nuanced understanding of individual responsibility in different environments, the role of commercial agents and their marketing practices, which can have major implications for social policy, should also be considered. From the perspective of both students and relevant agencies and organizations, this article examines the nature, role and limitations of individual responsibility in managing credit and debt. While the social and economic system confers rights on lenders, their responsibility in marketing remains limited. It is argued that a framework for more responsible marketing of credit is a critical element of social policy acting as a bridge between individual responsibility and regulation. Qualitative research is used to illustrate the argument for marketing's social responsibility from the point of view of students entering credit arrangements to meet short-term needs but with long-term implications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)598-619
Number of pages22
JournalSocial Policy and Administration
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2010


  • Responsibility
  • Capability
  • Credit
  • Marketing
  • Debt
  • Students


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