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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. Satyajit Chatterjee & Dean Corbae & Makoto Nakajima & José-Víctor Ríos-Rull, 2007. "A Quantitative Theory of Unsecured Consumer Credit with Risk of Default," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(6), pages 1525-1589, November.
  2. Lagos, Ricardo & Rocheteau, Guillaume, 2008. "Money and capital as competing media of exchange," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 142(1), pages 247-258, September.
  3. Ruilin Zhou, 1996. "Individual and Aggregate Real Balances in a Random Matching Model," GE, Growth, Math methods 9612001, EconWPA, revised 23 Dec 1996.
  4. Irina A. Telyukova, 2013. "Household Need for Liquidity and the Credit Card Debt Puzzle," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 80(3), pages 1148-1177.
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  8. 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.
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  10. Ricardo Lagos & Randall Wright, 2002. "A unified framework for monetary theory and policy analysis," Working Paper 0211, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  11. 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.
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  14. Christopher Waller & Guillaume Rocheteau, 2005. "Bargaining in Monetary Economies," 2005 Meeting Papers 55, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  15. Shi Shougong, 1995. "Money and Prices: A Model of Search and Bargaining," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 467-496, December.
  16. Aliprantis, C.D. & Camera, Gabriele & Puzzello, D., 2005. "Anonymous Markets and Monetary Trading," Purdue University Economics Working Papers 1179, Purdue University, Department of Economics.
  17. Michael Haliassos & Michael Reiter, 2005. "Credit card debt puzzles," Economics Working Papers 901, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  18. Ricardo de O. Cavalcanti & Neil Wallace, 1999. "Inside and outside money as alternative media of exchange," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, pages 443-468.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. Stephen D. Williamson, 2006. "Search, Limited Participation, And Monetary Policy ," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 47(1), pages 107-128, 02.
  22. Camera, G. & Corbae, D., 1998. "Money and Price Dispersion," Working Papers 98-03, University of Iowa, Department of Economics.
  23. Ricardo Lagos, 2005. "Asset Prices and Liquidity in an Exchange Economy," 2005 Meeting Papers 143, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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  25. Dean Corbae & Ted Temzelides & Randall Wright, 2003. "Directed Matching and Monetary Exchange," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(3), pages 731-756, 05.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. 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.
  29. Shouyong Shi, 1995. "Credit and Money in a Search Model with Divisible Commodities," Working Papers 917, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  30. 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.
  31. Edward J. Green & Ruilin Zhou, . ""A Rudimentary Model of Search with Divisible Money and Prices''," CARESS Working Papres 95-17, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
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  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. David B. Gross & Nicholas S. Souleles, 2001. "Do Liquidity Constraints and Interest Rates Matter for Consumer Behavior? Evidence from Credit Card Data," NBER Working Papers 8314, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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