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Aggregate Unemployment and Household Unsecured Debt

Author

Listed:
  • Zachary Bethune

    (University of California Santa Barbara)

  • Guillaume Rocheteau

    (University of California Irvine)

  • Peter Rupert

    (University of California Santa Barbara)

Abstract

This paper studies the relationship between the availability of unsecured credit to households and unemployment. We extend the Mortensen-Pissarides model to include a goods market with search and financial frictions. Households, who have limited commitment, face endogenous borrowing constraints when financing random consumption opportunities. We show that borrowing limits depend on the sophistication of the financial system, the frequency of liquidity shocks, and the rate of return on (partially) liquid assets that households can accumulate for self insurance. Moreover, firms' expected revenue is endogenous and depends on firms' market power in the goods market and the availability of unsecured credit to consumers. As a result of the complementarity between credit and labor markets, multiple steady states might exist. Across steady states unemployment and debt limits are negatively correlated. We calibrate the model to the U.S. labor and credit markets and illustrate the effects of an expansion in unsecured debt similar to that seen in the U.S. from 1978 to 2008. Under the baseline calibration, the rise in unsecured credit can account for approximately seventy percent of the decline in the long term average unemployment rate. (Copyright: Elsevier)

Suggested Citation

  • Zachary Bethune & Guillaume Rocheteau & Peter Rupert, 2015. "Aggregate Unemployment and Household Unsecured Debt," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 18(1), pages 77-100, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:issued:14-29
    DOI: 10.1016/j.red.2014.08.002
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    Cited by:

    1. Kyle F Herkenhoff, 2019. "The Impact of Consumer Credit Access on Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 86(6), pages 2605-2642.
    2. Brzustowski, Thomas & Petrosky-Nadeau, Nicolas & Wasmer, Etienne, 2018. "Disentangling goods, labor, and credit market frictions in three European economies," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 180-196.
    3. Guillaume Rocheteau & Randall Wright & Cathy Zhang, 2018. "Corporate Finance and Monetary Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 108(4-5), pages 1147-1186, April.
    4. Branch, William A. & Petrosky-Nadeau, Nicolas & Rocheteau, Guillaume, 2016. "Financial frictions, the housing market, and unemployment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 164(C), pages 101-135.
    5. Gajendran Raveendranathan & Georgios Stefanidis, 2020. "The Unprecedented Fall in U.S. Revolving Credit," Department of Economics Working Papers 2020-05, McMaster University.
    6. Huber, Samuel & Kim, Jaehong, 2017. "On the optimal quantity of liquid bonds," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 184-200.
    7. Gajendran Raveendranathan, 2018. "Improved Matching, Directed Search, and Bargaining in the Credit Card Market," 2018 Meeting Papers 112, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    8. Aleksander Berentsen & Samuel Huber & Alessandro Marchesiani, 2018. "Limited Commitment and the Demand for Money," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 128(610), pages 1128-1156, May.
    9. Giorgia Piacentino & Anjan Thakor & Jason Donaldson, 2015. "Bank Capital, Bank Credit and Unemployment," 2015 Meeting Papers 1403, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    10. J. Carter Braxton & Gordon Phillips & Kyle Herkenhoff, 2018. "Can the Unemployed Borrow? Implications for Public Insurance," 2018 Meeting Papers 564, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    11. Carli, Francesco & Gomis-Porqueras, Pedro, 2021. "Real consequences of open market operations: The role of limited commitment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 132(C).
    12. Mbekeni Lutho & Phiri Andrew, 2020. "South African Unemployment in the Post-Financial Crisis Era: What are the Determinants?," Folia Oeconomica Stetinensia, Sciendo, vol. 20(2), pages 230-248, December.
    13. Qian Chen & Christoffer Koch & Padma Sharma & Gary Richardson, 2020. "Payments Crises and Consequences," NBER Working Papers 27733, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Mohammed Ait Lahcen & Garth Baughman & Stanislav Rabinovich & Hugo van Buggenum, 2021. "Nonlinear Unemployment Effects of the Inflation Tax," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2021-040, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    15. Kyle Herkenhoff & Gordon Phillips & Ethan Cohen-Cole, 2016. "How Credit Constraints Impact Job Finding Rates, Sorting & Aggregate Output," Working Papers 16-25, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    16. Bethune, Zachary & Hu, Tai-Wei & Rocheteau, Guillaume, 2018. "Indeterminacy in credit economies," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 175(C), pages 556-584.
    17. Dong, Mei & Huangfu, Stella & Sun, Hongfei, 2020. "A Macroeconomic Theory of Banking Oligopoly," Working Papers 2020-12, University of Sydney, School of Economics.
    18. Thomas Brzustowski & Nicolas Petrosky-Nadeau & Etienne Wasmer, 2016. "Disentangling Goods, Labor, and Credit Market Frictions in Three European Economies," Post-Print hal-03567961, HAL.
    19. Suhal Kusairi & Suriyani Muhamad & M Musdholifah & Shu-Chen Chang, 2019. "Labor Market and Household Debt in Asia Pacific Countries: Dynamic Heterogeneous Panel Data Analysis," Journal of International Commerce, Economics and Policy (JICEP), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 10(02), pages 1-15, June.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Credit; Unemployment; Limited commitment; Liquidity;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • E40 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - General
    • E50 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - General

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