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Credit Growth and the Financial Crisis: A New Narrative

Author

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  • Albanesi, Stefania
  • De Giorgi, Giacomo
  • Nosal, Jaromir

Abstract

A broadly accepted view contends that the 2007-09 financial crisis in the U.S. was caused by an expansion in the supply of credit to subprime borrowers during the 2001- 2006 credit boom, leading to the spike in defaults and foreclosures that sparked the crisis. We use a large administrative panel of credit file data to examine the evolution of household debt and defaults between 1999 and 2013. Our findings suggest an alternative narrative that challenges the large role of subprime credit in the crisis. We show that credit growth between 2001 and 2007 was concentrated in the prime segment, and debt to high risk borrowers was virtually constant for all debt categories during this period. The rise in mortgage defaults during the crisis was concentrated in the middle of the credit score distribution, and mostly attributable to real estate investors. We argue that previous analyses confounded life cycle debt demand of borrowers who were young at the start of the boom with an expansion in credit supply over that period. Moreover, a positive correlation between the concentration of subprime borrowers and the severity of the 2007-09 recession found in previous research may be driven by the high prevalence of young, low education, minority individuals in zip codes with large subprime population.

Suggested Citation

  • Albanesi, Stefania & De Giorgi, Giacomo & Nosal, Jaromir, 2017. "Credit Growth and the Financial Crisis: A New Narrative," CEPR Discussion Papers 12230, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:12230
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Braggion, Fabio & Manconi, Alberto & Zhu, Haikun, 2018. "Can Technology Undermine Macroprudential Regulation? Evidence from Peer-to-Peer Credit in China," CEPR Discussion Papers 12668, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Alejandro Justiniano & Giorgio E. Primiceri & Andrea Tambalotti, 2016. "A Simple Model of Subprime Borrowers and Credit Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(5), pages 543-547, May.
    3. Christopher L. Foote & Lara Loewenstein & Paul S. Willen, 2016. "Cross-Sectional Patterns of Mortgage Debt during the Housing Boom: Evidence and Implications," NBER Working Papers 22985, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Foote, Christopher L. & Willen, Paul S., 2017. "Mortgage-default research and the recent foreclosure crisis," Working Papers 17-13, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
    5. Gete, Pedro & reher, Michael, 2017. "Mortgage Supply and Housing Rents," MPRA Paper 82856, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Kaplan, Greg & Mitman, Kurt & Violante, Giovanni L., 2017. "The Housing Boom and Bust: Model Meets Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 12215, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Zhu, Haikun, 2018. "Essays on political economy of finance and fintech," Other publications TiSEM 93f94423-e671-4041-bb24-8, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    8. Nelson Lind, 2017. "Credit Regimes and the Seeds of Crisis," 2017 Meeting Papers 1474, Society for Economic Dynamics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    subprime debt; credit boom; housing crisis; financial crisis;

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • E01 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General - - - Measurement and Data on National Income and Product Accounts and Wealth; Environmental Accounts
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises
    • G1 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets
    • G18 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • G20 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - General
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages

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