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Credit card redlining

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Author Info

  • Ethan Cohen-Cole

Abstract

This paper evaluates the presence of racial disparities in the issuance of consumer credit. Using a unique and proprietary database of credit histories from a major credit bureau, this paper links location-based information on race with individual credit files. After controlling for the influence of such other place-specific factors as crime, housing vacancy rates, and general population demographics, the paper finds qualitatively large differences in the amount of credit offered to similarly qualified applicants living in Black versus White areas. An instrumental variables approach allows the paper to distinguish between issuer-provided credit (supply) and utilization of credit (demand), where instruments for demand are derived from social theory à la Veblen (i.e., `keeping up with the Joneses'). The results suggest that the observed differences in credit lines by racial composition of neighborhood are largely driven by issuer decisions rather than by demand.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Boston in its series Risk and Policy Analysis Unit Working Paper with number QAU08-1.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedbqu:qau08-1

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Related research

Keywords: Discrimination in consumer credit;

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References

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  1. Coate, S. & Loury, G.C., 1992. "Will Affirmative Action Policies Eliminate Negative Stereotypes?," Papers 3, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  2. Harbaugh, Richmond, 1996. "Falling behind the Joneses: relative consumption and the growth-savings paradox," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 297-304, December.
  3. Ying Li & Eric Rosenblatt, 1997. "Can Urban Indicators Predict Home Price Appreciation? Implications for Redlining Research," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 25(1), pages 81-104.
  4. Alicia H. Munnell, 1992. "Mortgage lending in Boston: interpreting HMDA data," Working Papers 92-7, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  5. David B. Gross & Nicholas S. Souleles, 2001. "Do Liquidity Constraints and Interest Rates Matter for Consumer Behavior? Evidence from Credit Card Data," NBER Working Papers 8314, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Basmann, Robert L & Molina, David J & Slottje, Daniel J, 1988. "A Note on Measuring Veblen's Theory of Conspicuous Consumption," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 70(3), pages 531-35, August.
  7. Ferguson, Michael F & Peters, Stephen R, 1995. " What Constitutes Evidence of Discrimination in Lending?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(2), pages 739-48, June.
  8. Tootell, Geoffrey M B, 1996. "Redlining in Boston: Do Mortgage Lenders Discriminate against Neighborhoods?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(4), pages 1049-79, November.
  9. Edward S. Prescott & Daniel D. Tatar, 1999. "Means of payment, the unbanked, and EFT '99," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Fall, pages 49-70.
  10. BOCCARD, Nicolas & ZENOU, Yves, 1999. "Racial discrimination and redlining in cities," CORE Discussion Papers 1999013, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  11. Moro,A. & Norman,P., 2001. "A general equilibrium model of statistical discrimination," Working papers 4, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  12. Adriaan R. Soetevent, 2006. "Empirics of the Identification of Social Interactions; An Evaluation of the Approaches and Their Results ," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(2), pages 193-228, 04.
  13. Brock,W.A. & Durlauf,S.N., 2000. "Discrete choice with social interactions," Working papers 7, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  14. Manski, Charles F, 1993. "Identification of Endogenous Social Effects: The Reflection Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(3), pages 531-42, July.
  15. John V. Duca & Stuart S. Rosenthal, 1993. "Borrowing constraints, household debt, and racial discrimination in loan markets," Research Paper 9312, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
  16. Bagwell, Laurie Simon & Bernheim, B Douglas, 1996. "Veblen Effects in a Theory of Conspicuous Consumption," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 349-73, June.
  17. Wendy Edelberg, 2007. "Racial dispersion in consumer credit interest rates," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2007-28, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  18. Stephen L. Ross & John Yinger, 2002. "The Color of Credit: Mortgage Discrimination, Research Methodology, and Fair-Lending Enforcement," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262182289, December.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. John Gathergood, . "Racial Disparities in Credit Constraints in the Great Recession: Evidence from the UK," Discussion Papers 11/09, University of Nottingham, Centre for Finance, Credit and Macroeconomics (CFCM).
  2. Craig, B.R. & Dinger, V., 2010. "Deposit Market Competition, Wholesale Funding, and Bank Risk," Discussion Paper 2010-65S, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  3. Ethan Cohen-Cole, 2009. "The option value of consumer bankruptcy," Risk and Policy Analysis Unit Working Paper QAU09-1, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  4. Yelowitz, Aaron & Scott, Frank & Beck, Jason, 2011. "The market for real estate brokerage services in low- and high-income neighborhoods: A 6 city study," MPRA Paper 35608, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Song Han & Benjamin J. Keys & Geng Li, 2011. "Credit supply to personal bankruptcy filers: evidence from credit card mailings," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2011-29, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  6. Ethan Cohen-Cole & Burcu Duygan-Bump, 2008. "Household bankruptcy decision: the role of social stigma vs. information sharing," Risk and Policy Analysis Unit Working Paper QAU08-6, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

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