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Have Differences in Credit Access Diminished in an Era of Financial Market Deregulation?

  • Christian Weller

Over the past few decades, financial markets became increasingly deregulated and household debt expanded, sometimes rapidly. It is thus possible that greater deregulation led to improved credit access and lower cost of credit for typically underserved groups, such as minorities and low-income families, relative to their counterparts. Credit access is measured here by loan denials, discouraged applications. The cost of credit is measured by debt payments relative to debt. Differences in credit access and the cost of credit should have diminished over time, particularly after 2000, after large-scale deregulation had taken place. Differences by demographic groups over time are tested using multivariate tests based on data from the Federal Reserve's Survey Consumer Finances from 1989 to 2004. While some minority groups found increasing credit access after 2000, credit became increasingly more expensive relative to whites due to a less advantageous composition of debt or higher interest rate differentials. Importantly, growing differences in debt composition and interest rates contradict the expectation of credit market equalization after deregulation.

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Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Review of Social Economy.

Volume (Year): 68 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 1-34

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Handle: RePEc:taf:rsocec:v:68:y:2010:i:1:p:1-34
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