This paper presents and discusses empirical data suggesting that couples in the United Kingdom and elsewhere are becoming more individualised in their financial arrangements. Data on access to credit, and spending responsibilities, are used to explore the implications of individualisation. It is suggested that, though a couple's decision to keep their money separate may be motivated by a desire for equality and autonomy, the effect in some households may be to create inequality between the partners. The use of credit cards, which are essentially an individualised form of money, can privilege those with good credit ratings and disadvantage those who have less access to new forms of money. Finally, a wider view of the topic is explored, using evidence on the intra-household economy, on spending patterns and access to credit in sub-Saharan Africa, a part of the world with a long tradition of 'separate pots' for married couples. The article concludes that many of the issues in sub-Saharan Africa also apply in the 'developed' world.
To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.