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Credit Scores and the Moralization of Inequality
mardi 30 juin 2015

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Conférence de Kieran Healy lors du colloque "Pricing, Practices, Ranking" organisé par le département de Sciences Sociales et le département d’Économie

Quatrième session: Values, Cognition, and Markets

Position in the credit market is seen to flow seamlessly from behavior. By design, credit scores in the United States record people’s financial decisions without regard to the social and demographic categories sociologists that usually think of as constituting the social structure. Drawing on a large survey of American adults, we find that even self-reported credit scores are astonishingly powerful predictors of credit-related behavior. They mostly or wholly eliminate the power of categorical measures of race, gender, occupational structure, and education to predict people’s financial situations. Closer investigation shows that the social structure – especially the demographic structure of families – remains present, but largely invisible. By encoding decisions and circumstances alike as personal choices, credit scoring tools facilitate the individualization of structural
inequality and the moralization of measures of creditworthiness

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Kieran Healy
Duke University

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Kieran Healy est sociologue, professeur agrégé de sociologie à l'Université de Duke.

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Dernière mise à jour : 27/11/2015