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A Quantitative Theory of Information and Unsecured Credit

Author

Listed:
  • Kartik Athreya
  • Xuan S. Tam
  • Eric R. Young

Abstract

Important changes have occurred in unsecured credit markets over the past three decades. Most prominently, there have been large increases in aggregate consumer debt, the personal bankruptcy rate, the size of bankruptcies, the dispersion of interest rates paid by borrowers, and the relative discount received by those with good credit ratings. We find that improvements in information available to lenders on household-level costs of bankruptcy can account for a significant fraction of what has been observed. The ex ante welfare gains from better information are positive but small. (JEL D14, D82, G21)

Suggested Citation

  • 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 153-183, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmac:v:4:y:2012:i:3:p:153-83
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/mac.4.3.153
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages

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