The CCRI is a ground-breaking effort to differentiate and describe financially distressed consumers through the application of modern behavioral science methods. We have partnered with leading universities, not-for-profit institutions, commercial interests, and policy agencies, and our activities are wholly directed toward identifying and answering the most interesting and pressing questions about consumer financial behavior.

Answering some of the most important questions about financially distressed consumers through data and experimentation.

The institute’s research activities are divided into 3 main areas: (1) psychology and behavioral economics, (2) microeconomics, and (3) neurophysiology and neuroeconomics. Drawing upon the tools and methods specific to each area, we are focused on answering questions relevant to all of them.

Psychology and behavioral economics

Should I spend my money on a fancy pair of shoes, or save it for a rainy day? Is automotive insurance worth it? Do I prefer to take risks, or play it safe? How and why consumers make choices, the ways in which they express those choices, and how those choices impact their financial well-being are central to our research program. Through laboratory and field experiments we are creating the first comprehensive view of low- and moderate-income consumer psychology.


In what order do consumers pay their mortgage, cable, and credit card bills? Which offers and discounts are most appealing to consumers? What is the relationship between collection activity, credit availability, and consumer welfare? We are taking an experimental economics approach to characterize the household balance sheet of financially distressed consumers and understand consumer credit availability and market mechanisms.

Neurophysiology and neuroeconomics

What is the relationship between affect and cognition in financial decision-making? Are certain people more likely to be financially successful? Which parts of the brain are responsible for thinking about money, consumption, and value? Over the past decade, considerable progress has been made to understand the neurophysiological mechanisms underpinning our financial decisions and behaviors. In collaboration with leading universities, our aim is to further this work through the use of brain imaging and other neuroscience methods.