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Endogenous debt constraints in a life-cycle model with an application to social security

  • Andolfatto, David
  • Gervais, Martin

This paper develops a simple life-cycle model that embeds a theory of debt restrictions based on the existence of inalienable property rights a la Kehoe and Levine [1993. Debt constrained asset markets. Review of Economic Studies 60(4), 865-888; 2001. Liquidity constrained markets versus debt constrained markets. Econometrica 69(3), 575-598]. In our environment, net debtors have the option of defaulting on unsecured debt at the cost of being subjected to wage garnishment and/or having some or all of their future assets seized by creditors. One advantage of our framework is that it encompasses two standard versions of the life-cycle model: one with perfect capital markets and one with a non-negative net-worth restriction. We study the impact of a payroll financed social security system to illustrate the role of endogenous debt constraints and compare our results to a model with exogenous debt constraints. Whereas the aggregate effects are similar under both types of constraints, the distributional consequences are found to be significantly different across debt regimes.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control.

Volume (Year): 32 (2008)
Issue (Month): 12 (December)
Pages: 3745-3759

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Handle: RePEc:eee:dyncon:v:32:y:2008:i:12:p:3745-3759
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jedc

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  1. Fernando Alvarez & Urban J. Jermann, 2000. "Efficiency, Equilibrium, and Asset Pricing with Risk of Default," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(4), pages 775-798, July.
  2. Hansen, G.D., 1991. "The Cyclical and Secular Behavior of the Labor Input : Comparing Efficiency Units and Hours Worked," Papers 36, California Los Angeles - Applied Econometrics.
  3. Kocherlakota, Narayana R, 1996. "Implications of Efficient Risk Sharing without Commitment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(4), pages 595-609, October.
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  5. David Andolfatto & Martin Gervais, 2004. "Human Capital Investment and Debt Constraints," Labor and Demography 0412006, EconWPA.
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  9. Satyajit Chatterjee & Dean Corbae & Makoto Nakajima & Jose-Victor Rios-Rull, 2002. "A Quantitative Theory of Unsecured Consumer Credit with Risk of Default," Centro de Alti­simos Estudios Ri­os Pe©rez(CAERP) 2, Centro de Altisimos Estudios Rios Perez (CAERP).
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  12. Jeremy Bulow & Kenneth Rogoff, 1998. "Sovereign Debt: Is to Forgive to Forget," Levine's Working Paper Archive 209, David K. Levine.
  13. Scott Fay & Erik Hurst & Michelle J. White, 2002. "The Household Bankruptcy Decision," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(3), pages 706-718, June.
  14. Kehoe, Timothy J & Levine, David K, 2001. "Liquidity Constrained Markets versus Debt Constrained Markets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(3), pages 575-98, May.
  15. Jesus Fernández-Villaverde & Dirk Krueger, 2007. "Consumption over the Life Cycle: Facts from Consumer Expenditure Survey Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(3), pages 552-565, August.
  16. Huggett, Mark, 1996. "Wealth distribution in life-cycle economies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 469-494, December.
  17. Li, Wenli & Sarte, Pierre-Daniel, 2006. "U.S. consumer bankruptcy choice: The importance of general equilibrium effects," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 613-631, April.
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