Money walks: Implicit mobility behavior and financial well-being

Vivek Kumar Singh, Burcin Bozkaya, Alex Pentland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Traditional financial decision systems (e.g. credit) had to rely on explicit individual traits like age, gender, job type, and marital status, while being oblivious to spatio-temporal mobility or the habits of the individual involved. Emerging trends in geo-aware and mobile payment systems, and the resulting "big data," present an opportunity to study human consumption patterns across space and time. Taking inspiration from animal behavior studies that have reported significant interconnections between animal spatio-temporal "foraging" behavior and their life outcomes, we analyzed a corpus of hundreds of thousands of human economic transactions and found that financial outcomes for individuals are intricately linked with their spatio-temporal traits like exploration, engagement, and elasticity. Such features yield models that are 30% to 49% better at predicting future financial difficulties than the comparable demographic models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0136628
JournalPloS one
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 28 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


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