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Credit card debt and consumption: evidence from household-level data

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  • Tufan Ekici
  • Lucia Dunn

Abstract

This research investigates the relationship between credit card debt and consumption using household level data. This is a departure from the previous studies which have used aggregate measures of consumption and general debt such as the Debt Service Ratio or total revolving credit. We use a detailed monthly survey of credit card use to impute credit card debt to respondents from the Consumer Expenditure Survey sample. In contrast to some earlier studies using aggregate data, we find a negative relationship between debt and consumption growth. Our work shows that a $1000 increase in credit card debt results in a decrease in quarterly consumption growth of almost 2%. Investigations are also made into effects of debt within different age categories and into the impact of expected income growth on the debt-consumption relationship.

Suggested Citation

  • Tufan Ekici & Lucia Dunn, 2010. "Credit card debt and consumption: evidence from household-level data," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(4), pages 455-462.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:v:42:y:2010:i:4:p:455-462 DOI: 10.1080/00036840801964526
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    1. Karen E. Dynan & Kathleen W. Johnson & Karen M. Pence, 2003. "Recent changes to a measure of U.S. household debt service," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Oct, pages 417-426.
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    5. Sarah Brown & Gaia Garino & Karl Taylor & Stephen Wheatley Price, 2005. "Debt and Financial Expectations: An Individual- and Household-Level Analysis," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 43(1), pages 100-120, January.
    6. Calem, Paul S & Mester, Loretta J, 1995. "Consumer Behavior and the Stickiness of Credit-Card Interest Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1327-1336, December.
    7. Elizabeth Laderman, 1996. "What's behind problem credit card loans?," FRBSF Economic Letter, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue jul19.
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    9. Sydney Ludvigson, 1999. "Consumption And Credit: A Model Of Time-Varying Liquidity Constraints," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(3), pages 434-447, August.
    10. 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.
    11. Agarwal, Sumit & Liu, Chunlin & Mielnicki, Lawrence, 2003. "Exemption laws and consumer delinquency and bankruptcy behavior: an empirical analysis of credit card data," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 273-289.
    12. Karen E. Dynan, 1993. "How prudent are consumers?," Working Paper Series / Economic Activity Section 135, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    13. 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.).
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    15. Lusardi, Annamaria, 1996. "Permanent Income, Current Income, and Consumption: Evidence from Two Panel Data Sets," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 14(1), pages 81-90, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:9:p:1563-:d:110715 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Mateos-Planas, Xavier, 2009. "A model of credit limits and bankruptcy with applications to welfare and indebtedness," Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics 0910, Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton.
    3. repec:aea:aejpol:v:9:y:2017:i:3:p:199-228 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Tufan Ekici, 2016. "Subjective Financial Distress in the Formation of Consumer Confidence: Evidence from Novel Household Data," Bogazici Journal, Review of Social, Economic and Administrative Studies, Bogazici University, Department of Economics, vol. 30(2), pages 11-36.
    5. Weiou Wu & Apostolos Fasianos & Stephen Kinsella, 2015. "Differences in Borrowing Behaviour between Core and Peripheral Economies — Economic Environment versus Financial Perceptions," Working Papers 201516, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.

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