The financial ecologies and circuits of commerce of retail credit cards in Santiago de Chile The Institute for Money, Technology and Financial Inclusion at the University of California, Irvine.
The financial ecologies and circuits of commerce of retail credit cards in Santiago de Chile The Institute for Money, Technology and Financial Inclusion at the University of California, Irvine. Call for Research Proposal 2010. Topic: Social and Technological Infrastructures and Banking.
The expansion of consumer credits has been one of the most wide-ranging transformations in the last 20 years in Chile. One can argue that Chile has gone through its own process of ‘financialization’ and that this has had a very specific and domestic character: consumer credits. Of course, this is not the only country where consumer credits, and particularly, credit cards, have seen a significant growth. However, recent trends in the Chilean case show an important particularity: the access to consumer credits has neither been driven by banks nor by other traditional financial institutions but mainly by retailers such as supermarkets and department stores. In today’s Chile retail credit cards are not merely used to purchase goods in the issuers’ stores, but also increasingly as revolving credits cards that are usable in an expanding network of places (including airline tickets, private hospitals, pharmacies, and, certainly, other stores). In a developing country, where a large proportion of the population has not traditionally been considered by banks as potential customers, chain retailers are becoming the main access to finance. The expansion of consumer credits in Chile has recently been the focus of many of the main discussions in social research in Chile. However, little attention has been paid by academic research to credit practices itself. A central issue that has not been studied yet is the consequences of the expansion of retail credit cards to areas of the population and the city previously excluded from formal finance services. This research aims at starting to fill this gap.
This work will be elaborated from an “object based” approach and it will focus on two main aims: describing the new “financial ecologies” and the “circuits of commerce” emerging after the expansion of retail consumer credit to poor areas of Santiago, Chile’s capital city.
- Investigador Responsable: José Ossandón, Profesor Asistente, Escuela de Sociología, U. Diego Portales
- Asesor Métodos: Tomás Ariztía, Escuela de Sociología, U. Diego Portales
- Investigadores: Macarena Barros (Antropóloga, U. de Chile), Felipe González (Sociólogo, U. Alberto Hurtado)