IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Household Need for Liquidity and the Credit Card Debt Puzzle

  • Irina A. Telyukova

In the 2001 U.S. Survey of Consumer Finances, 27% of households report simultaneously revolving significant credit card debt and holding sizeable amounts of low-return liquid assets; this is known as the "credit card debt puzzle". In this article, I quantitatively evaluate the role of liquidity demand in accounting for this puzzle: households that accumulate credit card debt may not pay it off using their money in the bank, because they anticipate needing that money in situations where credit cards cannot be used. I characterize the puzzle in survey data, and calibrate a dynamic stochastic heterogeneous-agent model of household portfolio choice, where consumer credit and liquidity coexist as means of consumption and saving, where households consume a cash good and a credit good, and where cash consumption is subject to uncertainty. The model accounts for between 44% and 56% of the households in the data who hold consumer debt and liquidity simultaneously, and for 100% of the liquidity held by a median such household. Under reasonable calibration alternatives, the model can capture the entire puzzle group size as well. One-half of money demand in the model is precautionary. Copyright 2013, Oxford University Press.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal Review of Economic Studies.

Volume (Year): 80 (2013)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 1148-1177

in new window

Handle: RePEc:oup:restud:v:80:y:2013:i:3:p:1148-1177
Contact details of provider:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Schreft, S L, 1992. "Transaction Costs and the Use of Cash and Credit," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 2(2), pages 283-96, April.
  2. Martin Browning & Annamaria Lusardi, 1995. "Household Saving: Micro Theories and Micro Facts," Department of Economics Working Papers 1995-02, McMaster University.
  3. Telyukova, Irina A. & Visschers, Ludo, 2013. "Precautionary money demand in a business-cycle model," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(8), pages 900-916.
  4. Andreas Lehnert & Dean M. Maki, 2002. "Consumption, debt and portfolio choice: testing the effect of bankruptcy law," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2002-14, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  5. Dirk Krueger & Fabrizio Perri, 2004. "On the Welfare Consequences of the Increase in Inequality in the United States," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2003, Volume 18, pages 83-138 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Dirk Krueger & Fabrizio Perri, 2005. "Does income inequality lead to consumption equality? evidence and theory," Staff Report 363, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  7. Tauchen, George, 1986. "Finite state markov-chain approximations to univariate and vector autoregressions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 177-181.
  8. David Laibson & Andrea Repetto & Jeremy Tobacman, 2000. "A Debt Puzzle," Documentos de Trabajo 80, Centro de Economía Aplicada, Universidad de Chile.
  9. David B. Gross & Nicholas S. Souleles, 2002. "Do Liquidity Constraints And Interest Rates Matter For Consumer Behavior? Evidence From Credit Card Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(1), pages 149-185, February.
  10. Gervais, Martin & Klein, Paul, 2009. "Measuring consumption smoothing in CEX data," Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics 0906, Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton.
  11. Castaneda, Ana & Diaz-Gimenez, Javier & Rios-Rull, Jose-Victor, 1998. "Exploring the income distribution business cycle dynamics," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 93-130, June.
  12. John V. Duca & William C. Whitesell, 1991. "Credit cards and money demand: a cross-sectional study," Research Paper 9112, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
  13. Kjetil Storesletten & Chris Telmer & Amir Yaron, 1997. "Consumption and risk sharing over the life cycle," GSIA Working Papers 228, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
  14. 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.
  15. Kathleen W. Johnson, 2004. "Convenience or necessity? understanding the recent rise in credit card debt," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2004-47, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  16. Lacker, Jeffrey M. & Schreft, Stacey L., 1996. "Money and credit as means of payment," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 3-23, August.
  17. Jesús Fernández-Villaverde & Dirk Krueger, 2003. "Consumption over the Life Cycle: Some Facts from Consumer Expenditure Survey Data," Levine's Working Paper Archive 506439000000000304, David K. Levine.
  18. David B. Gross & Nicholas S. Souleles, 2001. "An Empirical Analysis of Personal Bankruptcy and Delinquency," NBER Working Papers 8409, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Irina A. Telyukova & Randall Wright, 2007. "A model of money and credit, with application to the credit card debt puzzle," Working Paper 0711, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  20. Kjetil Storesletten & Chris I. Telmer & Amir Yaron, 2004. "Cyclical Dynamics in Idiosyncratic Labor Market Risk," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(3), pages 695-717, June.
  21. Fatih Guvenen & Anthony Smith, 2010. "Inferring labor income risk from economic choices: an indirect inference approach," Staff Report 450, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  22. Ausubel, Lawrence M, 1991. "The Failure of Competition in the Credit Card Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 50-81, March.
  23. Peter S. Yoo, 1998. "Still charging: the growth of credit card debt between 1992 and 1995," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jan, pages 19-27.
  24. V. V. Chari & Lawrence J. Christiano & Patrick J. Kehoe, 1991. "Optimal fiscal and monetary policy: some recent results," Staff Report 147, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  25. Jonathan Heathcote & Kjetil Storesletten & Giovanni L. Violante, 2008. "The Macroeconomic Implications of Rising Wage Inequality in the United States," NBER Working Papers 14052, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. Robert Shimer, 2005. "The Cyclical Behavior of Equilibrium Unemployment and Vacancies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 25-49, March.
  27. Carol C. Bertaut & Michael Haliassos, 2001. "Debt Revolvers for Self Control," University of Cyprus Working Papers in Economics 0208, University of Cyprus Department of Economics.
  28. Eisfeldt, Andrea L., 2007. "Smoothing with liquid and illiquid assets," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(6), pages 1572-1586, September.
  29. 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).
  30. Donghoon Lee & Matthew Wiswall, 2007. "A Parallel Implementation of the Simplex Function Minimization Routine," Computational Economics, Society for Computational Economics, vol. 30(2), pages 171-187, September.
  31. Telyukova, Irina A. & Visschers, Ludo, 2011. "Precautionary demand for money in a monetary business cycle model," MPRA Paper 36905, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  32. Edward S. Prescott & Daniel D. Tatar, 1999. "Means of payment, the unbanked, and EFT '99," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Fall, pages 49-70.
  33. Bernheim, B Douglas, 1991. "Optimal Fiscal and Monetary Policy: Some Recent Results," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 23(3), pages 540-42, August.
  34. Joanna Stavins, 2000. "Credit card borrowing, delinquency, and personal bankruptcy," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue Jul, pages 15-30.
  35. Gourieroux, Christian & Monfort, Alain, 1997. "Simulation-based Econometric Methods," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198774754.
  36. Fumiko Hayashi & Elizabeth Klee, 2002. "Technology adoption and consumer payments : evidence from survey data," Payments System Research Working Paper PSR WP 02-01, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
  37. Athreya, Kartik, 2006. "Fresh start or head start? Uniform bankruptcy exemptions and welfare," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 30(11), pages 2051-2079, November.
  38. Vincenzo Quadrini & José-Víctor Ríos-Rull, 1997. "Understanding the U.S. distribution of wealth," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Spr, pages 22-36.
  39. Andrés Erosa & Gustavo Ventura, 2000. "On Inflation as a Regressive Consumption Tax," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 20001, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
  40. Santiago Budria Rodriguez & Javier Diaz-Gimenez & Vincenzo Quadrini & Jose-Victor Rior-Rull, 2002. "Updated facts on the U.S. distributions of earnings, income, and wealth," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Sum, pages 2-35.
  41. Hopenhayn, Hugo A & Prescott, Edward C, 1992. "Stochastic Monotonicity and Stationary Distributions for Dynamic Economies," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(6), pages 1387-406, November.
  42. Orazio Attanasio & Erich Battistin & Hidehiko Ichimura, 2004. "What Really Happened to Consumption Inequality in the US?," NBER Working Papers 10338, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  43. Thomas A. Durkin, 2002. "Consumers and credit disclosures: credit cards and credit insurance," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Apr, pages 201-213.
  44. Brito, Dagobert L & Hartley, Peter R, 1995. "Consumer Rationality and Credit Cards," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(2), pages 400-433, April.
  45. Thomas A. Durkin, 2000. "Credit cards: use and consumer attitudes, 1970-2000," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Sep, pages 623-634.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is featured on the following reading lists or Wikipedia pages:

  1. Economic Logic blog

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oup:restud:v:80:y:2013:i:3:p:1148-1177. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Oxford University Press)

or (Christopher F. Baum)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.