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When the bank is closed, the cash is king; ... not! A qualitative longitudinal study in the payment media used in Greece during and after the three-week period of governmentally-imposed Bank-holiday and respective capital controls

Litsiou, Konstantia and Nikolopoulos, Konstantinos (2019) When the bank is closed, the cash is king; ... not! A qualitative longitudinal study in the payment media used in Greece during and after the three-week period of governmentally-imposed Bank-holiday and respective capital controls. Working Paper. Bangor University, Bangor.

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Abstract

In this research paper we investigate changes in payment media used from consumers as a result of extreme financial restrictions. The motivation comes from the summer of 2015 in Greece where after failure for an agreement between Greece and the Troika (EU, IMF and ECB) for an extension of lending support from the latter, the Greek government decided to close the banks for three weeks; and apply capital controls still in place ten months after the event - however gradually relaxed. Methodologically we adopted grounded theory and through this a fully qualitative and longitudinal study comprised of three series (every six months) of in-depth interviews with individual citizens (on behalf of their households) over a period of one calendar year. We aim to investigate research changes in payment media used during and after the period when the banks were closed, as well as permanent changes in consumer and social behavior. Acknowledging that with this methodological approach reaching statistical significant results is very difficult to be achieved, we do however seek and to a great extend provide insight in what really happened during and after the events, and one thing came out again and again: people turned more into the use of debit cards, and secondary to online banking and to a lesser extent to credit cards; the later came with an inevitable raise of household debt. Cash use was only temporarily increased and more evidently during the three-week event, while all the previous aforementioned results had of a more permanent nature, as illustrated from the longitudinal analysis.

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