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A model of money and credit, with application to the credit card debt puzzle

  • Irina A. Telyukova
  • Randall Wright

Many individuals simultaneously have significant credit card debt and money in the bank. The credit card debt puzzle is: given high interest rates on credit cards and low rates on bank accounts, why not pay down debt? While some economists go to elaborate lengths to explain this, we argue it is a special case of the rate-of-return-dominance puzzle from monetary economics. We extend standard monetary theory to incorporate consumer debt, which is interesting in its own right since developing models where money and credit coexist is a long-standing challenge. Our model is quite tractable—e.g., it readily yields nice existence and characterization results—and helps puts into context recent discussions of consumer debt.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland in its series Working Paper with number 0711.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedcwp:0711
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  1. Ricardo de O. Cavalcanti & Neil Wallace, 1999. "A model of private bank-note issue," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 2(1), pages 104-136, January.
  2. Ricardo Lagos & Randall Wright, 2005. "A Unified Framework for Monetary Theory and Policy Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(3), pages 463-484, June.
  3. Edward J. Green & Ruilin Zhou, . "A Rudimentary Model of Search with Divisible Money and Prices," Penn CARESS Working Papers 2772f94306e08ef7292945588, Penn Economics Department.
  4. Satyajit Chatterjee & Dean Corbae & Makoto Nakajima & Jose-Victor Rios-Rull, 2007. "A quantitative theory of unsecured consumer credit with risk of default," Working Papers 07-16, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  5. Telyukova, Irina, 2008. "Household Need for Liquidity and the Credit Card Debt Puzzle," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt4c67r71r, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
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  7. Aruoba, S. Boragan & Waller, Christopher J. & Wright, Randall, 2011. "Money and capital," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 98-116, March.
  8. Ricardo Lagos & Guillaume Rocheteau, 2004. "Money and capital as competing media of exchange," Staff Report 341, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  9. Berentsen, Aleksander & Camera, Gabriele & Waller, Christopher, 2007. "Money, credit and banking," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 135(1), pages 171-195, July.
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  11. Edward J. Green & Ruilin Zhou, 2000. "Dynamic monetary equilibrium in a random-matching economy," Working Paper Series WP-00-1, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
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  13. Ricardo Lagos, 2005. "Asset Prices and Liquidity in an Exchange Economy," 2005 Meeting Papers 143, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  14. Guillaume Rocheteau & Randall Wright, 2003. "Money in Search Equilibrium, in Competitive Equilibrium, and in Competitive Search Equilibrium," PIER Working Paper Archive 03-031, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  15. Athanasios Geromichalos & Juan M Licari & Jose Suarez-Lledo, 2007. "Monetary Policy and Asset Prices," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 10(4), pages 761-779, October.
  16. David B. Gross & Nicholas S. Souleles, 2002. "Do Liquidity Constraints And Interest Rates Matter For Consumer Behavior? Evidence From Credit Card Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(1), pages 149-185, February.
  17. D. Aliprantis, C. & Camera, G. & Puzzello, D., 2007. "Anonymous markets and monetary trading," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(7), pages 1905-1928, October.
  18. Zhu, Tao, 2005. "Existence of a monetary steady state in a matching model: divisible money," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 123(2), pages 135-160, August.
  19. Shouyong Shi, 1995. "Money and Prices: A Model of Search and Bargaining," Working Papers 916, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  20. Cavalcanti, Ricardo de O & Wallace, Neil, 1999. "Inside and Outside Money as Alternative Media of Exchange," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 31(3), pages 443-57, August.
  21. Satyajit Chatterjee & Dean Corbae & Jose-Victor Rios-Rull, 2006. "Finite-Life, Private-Information Theory of Unsecured Debt," 2006 Meeting Papers 781, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  22. Ruilin Zhou, 1996. "Individual and aggregate real balances in a random matching model," Staff Report 222, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  23. Wallace, Neil, 2001. "Whither Monetary Economics?," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 42(4), pages 847-69, November.
  24. David Laibson & Andrea Repetto & Jeremy Tobacman, 2000. "A Debt Puzzle," Documentos de Trabajo 80, Centro de Economía Aplicada, Universidad de Chile.
  25. Kocherlakota, Narayana R., 1998. "Money Is Memory," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 232-251, August.
  26. Christopher Waller & Guillaume Rocheteau, 2005. "Bargaining in Monetary Economies," 2005 Meeting Papers 55, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  27. Dean Corbae & Ted Temzelides & Randall Wright, 2003. "Directed Matching and Monetary Exchange," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(3), pages 731-756, 05.
  28. Ping He & Lixin Huang & Randall Wright, 2005. "Money And Banking In Search Equilibrium," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 46(2), pages 637-670, 05.
  29. Trejos, Alberto & Wright, Randall, 1995. "Search, Bargaining, Money, and Prices," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(1), pages 118-41, February.
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  31. Carol C. Bertaut & Michael Haliassos, 2001. "Debt Revolvers for Self Control," University of Cyprus Working Papers in Economics 0208, University of Cyprus Department of Economics.
  32. Ricardo Lagos & Randall Wright, 2002. "Dynamics, cycles and sunspot equilibria in "genuinely dynamic, fundamentally disaggregative" models of money," Working Paper 0210, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  33. Andreas Lehnert & Dean M. Maki, 2002. "Consumption, debt and portfolio choice: testing the effect of bankruptcy law," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2002-14, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  34. Miguel Molico, 2006. "The Distribution Of Money And Prices In Search Equilibrium," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 47(3), pages 701-722, 08.
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