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The Determinants of Household Debt Defa

  • Rodrigo Alfaro
  • Natalia Gallardo
  • Roberto Stein

Based on a new dataset obtained from survey data, we study household debt default behavior in Chile. Previous research in this area suggests financial and personal variables that can help estimate individual and group probabilities of default. We study mortgage and consumer default separately, as the default decisions and overall borrower behavior are different for each type of debt. Our study finds that income and income-related variables are the only significant and robust variables that explain default for both types of debt. Demographic or personal variables are specific to one or the other type of debt but not to both. For example, level of education is a factor that affects mortgage default, whereas the determinants of consumer debt default include the age of the household head, and the number of people within the household that contribute to the total family income. We derive threshold probabilities of default for each type of debt and compare them to those obtained from results of previous work based on the same Chilean data, but with a different approach. We find that the probability of default decreases as the family income increases, and that our estimates are consistent with other studies similar to ours. Also consistently with previous research, we find that, in terms of the distribution of debt and default risk, the largest portion of the country’s household debt is in the hands of families in the upper quintiles, who have the lowest risk of default. This implies that the overall financial system should be relatively stable, even in the face of moderate macroeconomic shocks.

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Paper provided by Central Bank of Chile in its series Working Papers Central Bank of Chile with number 574.

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Date of creation: May 2010
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Handle: RePEc:chb:bcchwp:574
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  1. Robert B. Avery & Paul S. Calem & Glenn B. Canner, 2004. "Consumer credit scoring: do situational circumstances matter?," BIS Working Papers 146, Bank for International Settlements.
  2. Joshua Angrist, 1999. "Estimation of Limited-Dependent Variable Models with Dummy Endogenous Regressors: Simple Strategies for Empirical Practice," Working papers 99-31, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  3. Lawrence, Edward C. & Smith, L. Douglas & Rhoades, Malcolm, 1992. "An analysis of default risk in mobile home credit," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 299-312, April.
  4. Webb, Bruce G, 1982. " Borrower Risk under Alternative Mortgage Instruments," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 37(1), pages 169-83, March.
  5. Vandell, Kerry D, 1978. "Default Risk under Alternative Mortgage Instruments," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 33(5), pages 1279-96, December.
  6. Avery, Robert B. & Calem, Paul S. & Canner, Glenn B., 2004. "Consumer credit scoring: Do situational circumstances matter?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 835-856, April.
  7. Stansell, Stanley R & Millar, James A, 1976. "An Empirical Study of Mortgage Payment to Income Ratios in a Variable Rate Mortgage Program," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 31(2), pages 415-25, May.
  8. Angrist, Joshua D, 2001. "Estimations of Limited Dependent Variable Models with Dummy Endogenous Regressors: Simple Strategies for Empirical Practice: Reply," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 19(1), pages 27-28, January.
  9. Kerry D. Vandell & Thomas Thibodeau, 1985. "Estimation of Mortgage Defaults Using Disaggregate Loan History Data," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 13(3), pages 292-316.
  10. Mills, Edwin S & Lubuele, Luan' Sende, 1994. "Performance of Residential Mortgages in Low- and Moderate-Income Neighborhoods," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 245-60, November.
  11. Edwin S. Mills & Luan Sende Lubuele, 1994. "Performance of residential mortgages in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, pages 245-262.
  12. T. Gregory Morton, 1975. "A Discriminant Function Analysis of Residential Mortgage Delinquency and Foreclosure," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 3(1), pages 73-88.
  13. Francis Vella, 1998. "Estimating Models with Sample Selection Bias: A Survey," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(1), pages 127-169.
  14. Ingram, F. Jerry & Frazier, Emma L., 1982. "Alternative Multivariate Tests in Limited Dependent Variable Models: An Empirical Assessment," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 17(02), pages 227-240, June.
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