Buy-Now-Pay-Later Services and Food Insecurity Among Young Australians

Monday 12 September 2022 (13:00-14:00)

A discussion on the link between food insecurity and debt in high-income countries, focusing on young people in Australia, with guest speaker Beatriz Gallo Cordoba, Monash University, Australia.

The emerging literature on the link between food insecurity and debt in high-income countries has pointed out two potential effects – First, debt can be a protective factor, allowing people at risk of food insecurity to access the financial resources to purchase and prepare food. Second, it can be a risk factor, since those who are in disadvantaged positions can find themselves trapped in debt cycles that prevent them from achieving the financial stability that would let them secure a sustained access to food. We focus on buy-now-pay-later services as a particular form of credit. We use propensity score matching and a nationally representative sample of 505 young Australians from the 2021 Australian Youth Barometer to test these two hypotheses. We find evidence that BNPL increases the risk of being food insecure, as opposed to being triggered by food insecurity.

To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to investigate the link between the adoption of BNPL services and food insecurity for young people in Australia. It is also the first study to attempt a causal exploration of this relationship.


Beatriz is a Research Fellow in Quantitative Data/Statistics as part of the Monash Centre for Youth Policy and Education Practice (CYPEP), Monash University, Australia. Her research focuses on the study of disadvantage in young people, and how to measure and model it to acknowledge that this is a problem with multiple dimensions and levels. She completed her PhD in Advanced Quantitative Methods as part of the Centre for Multilevel Modelling at the School of Education, University of Bristol, UK and has over ten years of experience in quantitative social research and is knowledgeable in a variety of statistical analysis techniques, including impact-evaluation methods. Beatriz's latest research focuses on the lives of young Australians and their financial experiences.