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The cost of unanticipated household finance shocks : two examples


  • Kartik B. Athreya
  • Urvi Neelakantan


This article presents two simple calculations aimed at providing a first step in quantifying the costs of unanticipated financial shocks to a household. The two types of shocks considered are (1) an unanticipated drop in net worth and (2) an unexpected increase in the interest rate on borrowing. The shocks are faced by households in a life-cycle consumption-savings model and the costs are measured in terms of annual consumption. In general, for empirically plausible shocks, the results show that net worth shocks are substantially costlier than interest rate shocks. The costs of the shocks also vary systematically with the age of the household, with the net worth shock being especially costly for older households.

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  • Kartik B. Athreya & Urvi Neelakantan, 2011. "The cost of unanticipated household finance shocks : two examples," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue 4Q, pages 431-450.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedreq:y:2011:i:4q:p:431-450:n:v.97no.4

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Huggett, Mark & Ventura, Gustavo, 2000. "Understanding why high income households save more than low income households," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 361-397, April.
    2. Storesletten, Kjetil & Telmer, Christopher I. & Yaron, Amir, 2004. "Consumption and risk sharing over the life cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 609-633, April.
    3. Huggett, Mark, 1996. "Wealth distribution in life-cycle economies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 469-494, December.
    4. Athreya, Kartik B., 2008. "Default, insurance, and debt over the life-cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 752-774, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Davis, Andrew & Kim, Jiseob, 2017. "Explaining changes in the US credit card market: Lenders are using more information," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 76-92.

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