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Did consumers want less debt? consumer credit demand versus supply in the wake of the 2008-2009 financial crisis

  • Gropp, Reint

    (Goethe University, Frankfurt)

  • Krainer, John

    ()

    (Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco)

  • Laderman, Elizabeth

    ()

    (Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco)

We explore the sources of household balance sheet adjustment following the collapse of the housing market in 2006. First, we use microdata from the Federal Reserve Board’s Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey to document that banks cumulatively tightened consumer lending standards more in counties that experienced a house price boom in the mid-2000s than in nonboom counties. We then use the idea that renters, unlike homeowners, did not experience an adverse wealth shock when the housing market collapsed to examine the relative importance of two explanations for the observed deleveraging and the sluggish pickup in consumption after 2008. First, households may have optimally adjusted to lower wealth by reducing their demand for debt and implicitly, their demand for consumption. Alternatively, banks may have been more reluctant to lend in areas with pronounced real estate declines. Our evidence is consistent with the second explanation. Renters with low risk scores, compared to homeowners in the same markets, reduced their levels of nonmortgage debt and credit card debt more in counties where house prices fell more. The contrast suggests that the observed reductions in aggregate borrowing were more driven by cutbacks in the provision of credit than by a demand-based response to lower housing wealth.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco in its series Working Paper Series with number 2014-8.

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Length: 43 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2014
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedfwp:2014-08
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  1. Robert E. Hall, 2011. "The Long Slump," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(2), pages 431-69, April.
  2. Guido Lorenzoni & Veronica Guerrieri, 2011. "Credit Crises, Precautionary Savings and the Liquidity Trap," 2011 Meeting Papers 1414, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  3. Sumit Agarwal & Chunlin Liu & Nicholas Souleles, 2007. "The reaction of consumer spending and debt to tax rebates; evidence from consumer credit data," Working Papers 07-34, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  4. Gauti B. Eggertsson & Paul Krugman, 2012. "Debt, Deleveraging, and the Liquidity Trap: A Fisher-Minsky-Koo Approach," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 127(3), pages 1469-1513.
  5. Hurst, Erik & Stafford, Frank, 2004. "Home Is Where the Equity Is: Mortgage Refinancing and Household Consumption," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 36(6), pages 985-1014, December.
  6. Damar, H. Evren & Gropp, Reint & Mordel, Adi, 2014. "Banks' financial distress, lending supply and consumption expenditure," Working Paper Series 1687, European Central Bank.
  7. Meta Brown & Sarah Stein & Basit Zafar, 2013. "The impact of housing markets on consumer debt: credit report evidence from 1999 to 2012," Staff Reports 617, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  8. Albert Saiz, 2010. "The Geographic Determinants of Housing Supply," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 125(3), pages 1253-1296, August.
  9. Christopher D. Carroll, 1992. "The Buffer-Stock Theory of Saving: Some Macroeconomic Evidence," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 23(2), pages 61-156.
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