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Credit card redlining

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  • Ethan Cohen-Cole

Abstract

This paper evaluates the presence of racial disparities in the issuance of consumer credit. Using a unique and proprietary database of credit histories from a major credit bureau, this paper links location-based information on race with individual credit files. After controlling for the influence of such other place-specific factors as crime, housing vacancy rates, and general population demographics, the paper finds qualitatively large differences in the amount of credit offered to similarly qualified applicants living in Black versus White areas. An instrumental variables approach allows the paper to distinguish between issuer-provided credit (supply) and utilization of credit (demand), where instruments for demand are derived from social theory à la Veblen (i.e., `keeping up with the Joneses'). The results suggest that the observed differences in credit lines by racial composition of neighborhood are largely driven by issuer decisions rather than by demand.

Suggested Citation

  • Ethan Cohen-Cole, 2008. "Credit card redlining," Risk and Policy Analysis Unit Working Paper QAU08-1, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedbqu:qau08-1
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Gathergood John, 2011. "Racial Disparities in Credit Constraints in the Great Recession: Evidence from the UK," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 11(1), pages 1-32, September.
    2. Cohen-Cole, Ethan & Duygan-Bump, Burcu & Montoriol-Garriga, Judit, 2013. "Who gets credit after bankruptcy and why? An information channel," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(12), pages 5101-5117.
    3. Chatterji, Aaron K. & Seamans, Robert C., 2012. "Entrepreneurial finance, credit cards, and race," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 106(1), pages 182-195.
    4. Ethan Cohen-Cole & Burcu Duygan-Bump, 2008. "Household bankruptcy decision: the role of social stigma vs. information sharing," Risk and Policy Analysis Unit Working Paper QAU08-6, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
    5. Craig, Ben R. & Dinger, Valeriya, 2013. "Deposit market competition, wholesale funding, and bank risk," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(9), pages 3605-3622.
    6. Yelowitz, Aaron & Scott, Frank & Beck, Jason, 2011. "The market for real estate brokerage services in low- and high-income neighborhoods: A 6 city study," MPRA Paper 35608, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Ethan Cohen-Cole, 2009. "The option value of consumer bankruptcy," Risk and Policy Analysis Unit Working Paper QAU09-1, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
    8. Song Han & Benjamin J. Keys & Geng Li, 2011. "Credit supply to personal bankruptcy filers: evidence from credit card mailings," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2011-29, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    9. Fourcade, Marion & Healy, Kieran, 2013. "Classification situations: Life-chances in the neoliberal era," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 38(8), pages 559-572.

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    Keywords

    Discrimination in consumer credit;

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