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Welfare implications of the transition to high household debt

  • Jeffrey R. Campbell
  • Zvi Hercowitz

Aggressive deregulation of the mortgage market in the early 1980s triggered innovations that greatly reduced the required home equity of U.S. households. This allowed households to cash-out a large part of accumulated equity, which equaled 71 percent of GDP in 1982. A borrowing surge followed: Household debt increased from 43 to 62 percent of GDP in the 1982- 2000 period. What are the welfare implications of such a reform for borrowers and savers? This paper uses a calibrated general equilibrium model of lending from the wealthy to the middle class to evaluate these effects quantitatively.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in its series Working Paper Series with number WP-06-27.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedhwp:wp-06-27
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  1. Friedman, Benjamin M, 1992. "Learning from the Reagan Deficits," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(2), pages 299-304, May.
  2. Ray C. Fair & John B. Taylor, 1980. "Solution and Maximum Likelihood Estimation of Dynamic Nonlinear RationalExpectations Models," NBER Technical Working Papers 0005, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Per Krusell & Anthony A. Smith & Jr., 1998. "Income and Wealth Heterogeneity in the Macroeconomy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(5), pages 867-896, October.
  4. Zvi Hercowitz & Jeffrey C. Campbell, 2005. "The Role of Collateralized Household Debt in Macroeconomic Stabilization," 2005 Meeting Papers 120, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  5. Benjamin M. Friedman, 1992. "Learning From the Reagan Deficits," NBER Working Papers 4022, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Richard K. Green & Susan M. Wachter, 2005. "The American Mortgage in Historical and International Context," Working Paper 9094, USC Lusk Center for Real Estate.
  7. Dirk Krueger & Fabrizio Perri, 2006. "Does Income Inequality Lead to Consumption Inequality? Evidence and Theory -super-1," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(1), pages 163-193.
  8. Fernando Alvarez & Urban J. Jermann, 2000. "Efficiency, Equilibrium, and Asset Pricing with Risk of Default," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(4), pages 775-798, July.
  9. Becker, Robert A, 1980. "On the Long-Run Steady State in a Simple Dynamic Model of Equilibrium with Heterogeneous Households," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 95(2), pages 375-82, September.
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