A finite-life private-information theory of unsecured consumer debt
AbstractWe present a theory of unsecured consumer debt that does not rely on utility costs of default or on enforcement mechanisms that arise in repeated-interaction settings. The theory is based on private information about a person's type and on a person's incentive to signal his type to entities other than creditors. Specifically, debtors signal their low-risk status to insurers by avoiding default in credit markets. The signal is credible because in equilibrium people who repay are more likely to be the low-risk type and so receive better insurance terms. We explore two different mechanisms through which repayment behavior in the credit market can be positively correlated with low-risk status in the insurance market. Our theory is motivated in part by some facts regarding the role of credit scores in consumer credit and auto insurance markets.
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Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Theory.
Volume (Year): 142 (2008)
Issue (Month): 1 (September)
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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622869
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- Satyajit Chatterjee & Dean Corbae & José-Víctor Ríos-Rull, 2007. "A finite-life private-information theory of unsecured consumer debt," Working Papers 07-14, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
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- Athreya, Kartik & Tam, Xuan S. & Young, Eric R., 2009. "Unsecured credit markets are not insurance markets," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 83-103, January.
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