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Consumers and the economy, part II: Household debt and the weak U.S. recovery

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  • Atif Mian
  • Amir Sufi

Abstract

The U.S. economic recovery has been weak, especially in employment growth. A microeconomic analysis of U.S. counties shows that this weakness is closely related to elevated levels of household debt accumulated during the housing boom. Counties where household debt grew moderately from 2002 to 2006 have seen a moderation of employment losses and a robust recovery in durable consumption and residential investment. By contrast, counties that experienced large increases in household debt during the boom have been mired in a severe recessionary environment even after the official end of the recession.

Suggested Citation

  • Atif Mian & Amir Sufi, 2011. "Consumers and the economy, part II: Household debt and the weak U.S. recovery," FRBSF Economic Letter, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue jan18.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedfel:y:2011:i:jan18:n:2011-02
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Atif Mian & Amir Sufi, 2011. "Household Leverage and the Recession of 2007 to 2009," SBP Research Bulletin, State Bank of Pakistan, Research Department, vol. 7, pages 125-173.
    2. Reuven Glick & Kevin J. Lansing, 2010. "Global household leverage, house prices, and consumption," FRBSF Economic Letter, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue jan11.
    3. Martha L. Olney, 1999. "Avoiding Default: The Role of Credit in the Consumption Collapse of 1930," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(1), pages 319-335.
    4. John H. Mutti & Harry Grubert, 2007. "The Effect of Taxes on Royalties and the Migration of Intangible Assets Abroad," NBER Working Papers 13248, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jordà, Òscar & Schularick, Moritz & Taylor, Alan M., 2011. "When Credit Bites Back: Leverage, Business Cycles, and Crises," CEPR Discussion Papers 8678, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Jiseob Kim, 2016. "Why household debt held by Korean seniors is problematic: An international comparison," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 36(4), pages 2080-2093.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Households ; Debt ; Economic conditions;

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