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Convenience or necessity? understanding the recent rise in credit card debt

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  • Kathleen W. Johnson

Abstract

Economist disagree whether the recent increase in credit card debt has been detrimental to U.S. household. However, many rely on a measure of revolving credit published by the Federal Reserve, which captures transactions in which a credit card is used because of its advantages over cash or a check. An increase in debt stemming from such convenience use likely would not signal greater financial vulnerability for households. In this paper, I present evidence that some of the significant increase in both the level of credit card debt and it growth from 1992 to 2001 was due to convenience use.

Suggested Citation

  • Kathleen W. Johnson, 2004. "Convenience or necessity? understanding the recent rise in credit card debt," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2004-47, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2004-47
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Christopher D. Carroll, 1997. "Buffer-Stock Saving and the Life Cycle/Permanent Income Hypothesis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(1), pages 1-55.
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Andrew Kish, 2006. "Perspectives on recent trends in consumer debt," Payment Cards Center Discussion Paper 06-05, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    3. Elizabeth C. Klee, 2006. "Families' use of payment instruments during a decade of change in the U.S. payment system," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2006-01, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    4. Marques Benton & Stephan Meier & Charles Sprenger, 2007. "Overborrowing and undersaving: lessons and policy implications from research in behavioral economics," Public and Community Affairs Discussion Papers 2007-4, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

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    Keywords

    Credit cards ; Debt;

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