The macroeconomic transition to high household debt
Aggressive deregulation of the household debt market in the early 1980s triggered innovations that greatly reduced the required home equity of U.S. households, allowing them to cash-out a large part of accumulated equity. In 1982, home equity equaled 71 percent of GDP; so this generated a borrowing shock of huge macroeconomic proportions. The combination of increasing household debt from 43 to 56 percent of GDP with high interest rates during the 1982-1990 period is consistent with such a shock to households’ demand for funds. This paper uses a quantitative general equilibrium model of lending from the wealthy to the middle class to evaluate the positive and normative aspects of the transition to a high debt economy. Using the model, we interpret evidence on the changing distribution of assets and debt as well as macro time series since 1982.
Volume (Year): (2006)
Issue (Month): Nov ()
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