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Costly Contracts and Consumer Credit

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  • Livshits, Igor
  • MacGee, James
  • Tertilt, Michèle

Abstract

Financial innovations are a common explanation of the rise in consumer credit and bankruptcies. To evaluate this story, we develop a simple model that incorporates two key frictions: asymmetric information about borrowers’ risk of default and a fixed cost to create each contract offered by lenders. Innovations which reduce the fixed cost or ameliorate asymmetric information have large extensive margin effects via the entry of new lending contracts targeted at riskier borrowers. This results in more defaults and borrowing, as well as increased dispersion of interest rates. Using the Survey of Consumer Finance and interest rate data collected by the Board of Governors, we find evidence supporting these predictions, as the dispersion of credit card interest rates nearly tripled, and the share of credit card debt of lower income households nearly doubled.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8580.

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Date of creation: Sep 2011
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8580

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Related research

Keywords: bankruptcy; consumer credit; endogenous financial contracts;

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References

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  1. Alberto Bisin & Piero Gottardi, 2005. "Efficient Competitive Equilibria with Adverse Selection," CESifo Working Paper Series 1504, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Igor Livshits & James MacGee & Mich�le Tertilt, 2007. "Consumer Bankruptcy: A Fresh Start," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 402-418, March.
  3. William Adams & Liran Einav & Jonathan Levin, 2007. "Liquidity Constraints and Imperfect Information in Subprime Lending," NBER Working Papers 13067, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Kartik Athreya & Xuan S. Tam & Eric R. Young, 2012. "A Quantitative Theory of Information and Unsecured Credit," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(3), pages 153-83, July.
  5. Jaromir B. Nosal & Lukasz A. Drozd, 2008. "Competing for Customers: A Search Model of the Market for Unsecured Credit," 2008 Meeting Papers 274, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  6. Veronica Guerrieri & Robert Shimer & Randall Wright, 2010. "Adverse Selection in Competitive Search Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(6), pages 1823-1862, November.
  7. Allen N. Berger & W. Scott Frame & Nathan H. Miller, 2002. "Credit scoring and the availability, price, and risk of small business credit," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2002-26, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  8. Margaret J. Miller (ed.), 2003. "Credit Reporting Systems and the International Economy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262134225, December.
  9. Jaffee, Dwight M & Russell, Thomas, 1984. "Imperfect Information, Uncertainty, and Credit Rationing: A Reply," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 99(4), pages 869-72, November.
  10. Juan M. Sánchez, 2010. "The IT revolution and the unsecured credit market," Working Papers 2010-022, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  11. Jaffee, Dwight M & Russell, Thomas, 1976. "Imperfect Information, Uncertainty, and Credit Rationing," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 90(4), pages 651-66, November.
  12. Kartik Athreya, 2001. "The growth of unsecured credit : are we better off?," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Sum, pages 11-33.
  13. Satyajit Chatterjee & Dean Corbae & Jose-Victor Rios-Rull, 2006. "Finite-Life, Private-Information Theory of Unsecured Debt," 2006 Meeting Papers 781, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  14. N. Narajabad, Borghan, 2010. "Information Technology and the Rise of Household Bankruptcy," MPRA Paper 21058, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  15. Arthur B. Kennickell & Martha Starr-McCluer & Brian J. Surette, 2000. "Recent changes in U. S. family finances: results from the 1998 Survey of Consumer Finances," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Jan, pages 1-29.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Lukasz A. Drozd & Ricardo Serrano-Padial, 2013. "Modeling the credit card revolution: the role of debt collection and informal bankruptcy," Working Papers 13-12, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  2. Cristina Arellano & Yan Bai & Jing Zhang, 2009. "Firm dynamics and financial development," Staff Report 392, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  3. Kartik B. Athreya & Xuan S. Tam & Eric R. Young, 2009. "Are harsh penalties for default really better?," Working Paper 09-11, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  4. Borghan Nezami Narajabad, 2012. "Information Technology and the Rise of Household Bankruptcy," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 15(4), pages 526-550, October.
  5. Daniel R. Sanches, 2010. "A dynamic model of unsecured credit," Working Papers 11-2, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  6. Luigi Guiso & Paolo Sodini, 2012. "Household Finance. An Emerging Field," EIEF Working Papers Series 1204, Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF), revised Mar 2012.
  7. Jason Allen & H. Evren Damar & David Martinez-Miera, 2012. "Consumer Bankruptcy and Information," Working Papers 12-18, Bank of Canada.
  8. 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.
  9. N. Narajabad, Borghan, 2010. "Information Technology and the Rise of Household Bankruptcy," MPRA Paper 21058, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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