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Interest rates, debt and intertemporal allocation: evidence from notched mortgage contracts in the United Kingdom

Author

Listed:
  • Best, Michael Carlos

    (Stanford University)

  • Cloyne, James

    (Bank of England)

  • Ilzetzki, Ethan

    (London School of Economics)

  • Kleven, Henrik Jacobsen

    (London School of Economics)

Abstract

Using a novel source of quasi-experimental variation in interest rates, we study the response of household debt and intertemporal consumption allocation to interest rates. We also develop a new approach to structurally estimate the Elasticity of Intertemporal Substitution (EIS). In the United Kingdom, the mortgage interest rate schedule features discrete jumps — notches — at thresholds for the loan-to-value (LTV) ratio, creating strong incentives for bunching below those thresholds. We document large and sharp bunching below every notch, which translates into sizable interest elasticities of mortgage debt, between 0.1 and 1.4 across different LTV levels. We develop a dynamic model that links these reduced-form responses to the underlying structural EIS. The EIS is much smaller and less heterogeneous than the reduced-form elasticities, between 0.05-0.25 across LTV levels and household types. We show that our structural approach is robust to a wide range of assumptions on beliefs about the future, uncertainty, risk aversion, discount factors and present bias. Our findings have implications for the numerous calibration studies in economics that rely on larger values of the EIS.

Suggested Citation

  • Best, Michael Carlos & Cloyne, James & Ilzetzki, Ethan & Kleven, Henrik Jacobsen, 2015. "Interest rates, debt and intertemporal allocation: evidence from notched mortgage contracts in the United Kingdom," Bank of England working papers 543, Bank of England.
  • Handle: RePEc:boe:boeewp:0543
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    Cited by:

    1. Bracke, Philippe & Hilber, Christian A.L. & Silva, Olmo, 2018. "Mortgage debt and entrepreneurship," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 52-66.
    2. Philippe Aghion & Ufuk Akcigit & Matthieu Lequien & Stefanie Stantcheva, 2017. "Tax Simplicity and Heterogeneous Learning," NBER Working Papers 24049, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Saleem Bahaj & Angus Foulis & Gabor Pinter, 2020. "Home Values and Firm Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 110(7), pages 2225-2270, July.
    4. Gianluca Benigno & Luca Fornaro, 2018. "Stagnation Traps," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 85(3), pages 1425-1470.
    5. Paul S. Calem & Lauren Lambie-Hanson & Leonard I. Nakamura, 2017. "Appraising Home Purchase Appraisals," Working Papers 17-23, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    6. Einav, Liran & Finkelstein, Amy & Schrimpf, Paul, 2017. "Bunching at the kink: Implications for spending responses to health insurance contracts," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 146(C), pages 27-40.
    7. Einav, Liran & Finkelstein, Amy & Schrimpf, Paul, 2019. "Reprint of: Bunching at the kink: Implications for spending responses to health insurance contracts," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 171(C), pages 117-130.
    8. Matteo Benetton, 2017. "Lenders' Competition and Macro-prudential Regulation: A Model of the UK Mortgage Supermarket," 2017 Meeting Papers 1001, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    9. Marco Di Maggio & Amir Kermani & Christopher Palmer, 2016. "How Quantitative Easing Works: Evidence on the Refinancing Channel," NBER Working Papers 22638, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Eckley, Peter & Benetton, Matteo & Latsi, Georgia & Garbarino, Nicola & Kirwin, Liam, 2017. "Specialisation in mortgage risk under Basel II," Bank of England working papers 639, Bank of England.
    11. James Cloyne & Clodomiro Ferreira & Paolo Surico, 2020. "Monetary Policy when Households have Debt: New Evidence on the Transmission Mechanism," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 87(1), pages 102-129.
    12. Gabor Pinter & Angus Foulis & Saleem Bahaj, 2016. "The Residential Collateral Channel," 2016 Meeting Papers 502, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    13. Anthony A. DeFusco & Andrew Paciorek, 2017. "The Interest Rate Elasticity of Mortgage Demand: Evidence from Bunching at the Conforming Loan Limit," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 9(1), pages 210-240, February.
    14. Neil Bhutta & Daniel R. Ringo, 2017. "The Effect of Interest Rates on Home Buying : Evidence from a Discontinuity in Mortgage Insurance Premiums," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2017-086, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    15. Lu Han & Chandler Lutz & Benjamin Sand & Derek Stacey, 2018. "Do Financial Constraints Cool a Housing Boom?," Working Papers 073, Ryerson University, Department of Economics.
    16. repec:ces:ifowps:_2020 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Schmidt, Lawrence & Toda, Alexis Akira, 2015. "Do You Save More or Less in Response to Bad News? A New Identification of the Elasticity of Intertemporal Substitution," MPRA Paper 78983, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    18. Tracey, Belinda & Schnittker, Christian & Sowerbutts, Rhiannon, 2017. "Bank capital and risk-taking: evidence from misconduct provisions," Bank of England working papers 671, Bank of England, revised 09 Oct 2018.
    19. Anthony A Defusco & Stephanie Johnson & John Mondragon, 2020. "Regulating Household Leverage," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 87(2), pages 914-958.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Interest rates; mortgage debt; elasticity of intertemporal substitution; notches.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • E43 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Interest Rates: Determination, Term Structure, and Effects
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • R22 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Other Demand

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