Research Publication Title

Addressing Economic Issues within Milledgeville

Presenter Information

Montana PhalanFollow

Major

Philosophy

Faculty Mentor

Amanda J. Reinke

Keywords

loans, poverty, title loan, pawn, predatory lending

Abstract

Over 43% of the population within Milledgeville lives below the poverty line, which is higher than the national average of 13%. A decade ago, Milledgeville was a place surging with employment. In only a matter of a couple of years, more than 1,800 jobs were dissolved when Rivers State Prison along with other major employment providing corporations closed, leaving citizens jobless. Because of economic crisis within Milledgeville, certain economic infrastructures, such as title loan offices, title pawns, payday loans, and other businesses that rely upon them (e.g. repossession) have become visible. These businesses may provide a much-needed financial infrastructure by offering monetary resources to those with limited options. In 2012, nearly 70% of such loans covered expected expenses (Pew 2012), thus they clearly operate as a mainstream credit option for low- and middle-income earners (Han 2011; Servan 2017). Despite their widespread use, little data has been collected nationwide to understand the deep-rooted and far-reaching impacts of these loans on business owners who operate them, their clients, or on the community’s economic wellbeing. Using interviews, mapping techniques, and archival data, the goal of this research is to determine the ways in which lending businesses provide economic opportunities to individuals who have few options but may also capture their clients in a cycle of debt. Prior research (e.g. Novinbakht 2014) has demonstrated the potential deleterious effects of these businesses, including contributing to ongoing precarity and lack of financial well-being. This project will illuminate a pervasive economic issue undergirding the economic well-being of Milledgeville by examining business owners’ and clients’ perceptions and experiences with money lending. Expected conclusions will highlight the location of lending offices in correlation with low-income areas of the community, as well as attempt to understand the various reasons people seek alternative lending and inevitably continue to return.

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Addressing Economic Issues within Milledgeville

Over 43% of the population within Milledgeville lives below the poverty line, which is higher than the national average of 13%. A decade ago, Milledgeville was a place surging with employment. In only a matter of a couple of years, more than 1,800 jobs were dissolved when Rivers State Prison along with other major employment providing corporations closed, leaving citizens jobless. Because of economic crisis within Milledgeville, certain economic infrastructures, such as title loan offices, title pawns, payday loans, and other businesses that rely upon them (e.g. repossession) have become visible. These businesses may provide a much-needed financial infrastructure by offering monetary resources to those with limited options. In 2012, nearly 70% of such loans covered expected expenses (Pew 2012), thus they clearly operate as a mainstream credit option for low- and middle-income earners (Han 2011; Servan 2017). Despite their widespread use, little data has been collected nationwide to understand the deep-rooted and far-reaching impacts of these loans on business owners who operate them, their clients, or on the community’s economic wellbeing. Using interviews, mapping techniques, and archival data, the goal of this research is to determine the ways in which lending businesses provide economic opportunities to individuals who have few options but may also capture their clients in a cycle of debt. Prior research (e.g. Novinbakht 2014) has demonstrated the potential deleterious effects of these businesses, including contributing to ongoing precarity and lack of financial well-being. This project will illuminate a pervasive economic issue undergirding the economic well-being of Milledgeville by examining business owners’ and clients’ perceptions and experiences with money lending. Expected conclusions will highlight the location of lending offices in correlation with low-income areas of the community, as well as attempt to understand the various reasons people seek alternative lending and inevitably continue to return.