In the mood to consume: Effect of sunshine on credit card spending

Sumit Agarwal, Souphala Chomsisengphet, Stephan Meier, Xin Zou*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Using a large, representative sample of high-frequency credit card transactions in the United States, this paper examines the causal effect of sunshine-induced mood on contemporaneous household credit card spending. We document a 0.3 percent increase in credit card spending in response to a one-unit increase in the same-day local abnormal sunshine. The spending response is stronger for consumers with higher credit card debt, lower FICO score, and shorter tenure with the bank. The effect manifests in long-term, durable goods spending, and is not driven by other weather conditions, complementarity between sunshine and consumption, or intentional choice of consumption time. We document similar responses of spending on seasonal and non-seasonal goods and during times with high and low sunshine levels. Finally, the sunshine effect occurs among consumers with various characteristics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105960
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Banking and Finance
Early online date24 Sep 2020
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics

User-Defined Keywords

  • Consumption
  • Credit cards
  • Household finance
  • Mood
  • Sunshine


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