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Debt Constraints and Employment

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  • Patrick J. Kehoe
  • Virgiliu Midrigan
  • Elena Pastorino

Abstract

During the Great Recession, US regions that experienced large declines in household debt also experienced large drops in consumption, employment, and wages. We develop a search and matching model in which tighter debt constraints raise the cost of investing in new job vacancies and so reduce job-finding rates and employment. On-the-job human capital accumulation is critical to generating sizable drops in employment: it increases the duration of the benefit flows from posting vacancies, thereby amplifying the employment drop from a credit tightening 10-fold relative to the standard model. Our model reproduces the salient cross-regional features of the US Great Recession.

Suggested Citation

  • Patrick J. Kehoe & Virgiliu Midrigan & Elena Pastorino, 2019. "Debt Constraints and Employment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 127(4), pages 1926-1991.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:doi:10.1086/701608
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    1. repec:eee:inecon:v:117:y:2019:i:c:p:158-174 is not listed on IDEAS
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    8. Patrick J. Kehoe & Virgiliu Midrigan & Elena Pastorino, 2018. "Evolution of Modern Business Cycle Models: Accounting for the Great Recession," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 32(3), pages 141-166, Summer.
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    19. Alan Finkelstein Shapiro & Maria Olivero, 2018. "Lending Relationships and Labor Market Dynamics," 2018 Meeting Papers 1113, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    20. David P. Glancy, 2017. "Housing Bust, Bank Lending & Employment : Evidence from Multimarket Banks," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2017-118, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (US).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

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