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The financial labor supply accelerator

  • Jeffrey R. Campbell
  • Zvi Hercowitz

The financial labor supply accelerator links hours worked to minimum down payments for durable good purchases. When these constrain a household's debt, a persistent wage increase generates a liquidity shortage. This limits the income effect, so hours worked grow. The mechanism generates a positive comovement of labor supply and household debt, the strength of which depends positively on the minimum down-payment rate. Its potential macroeconomic importance comes from these labor supply fluctuations' procyclicality. This paper examines the comovement of hours worked and debt at the household level with PSID data before and after the financial deregulation of the early 1980s which reduced effective down payments and compares the evidence with results from model-generated data. The household-level data displays positive co-movement between hours worked and debt, which weakens after the financial reforms. An empirically realistic reduction of the model's required down payments generates a quantitatively similar weakening.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in its series Working Paper Series with number WP-2011-05.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedhwp:wp-2011-05
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  1. repec:fth:harver:1435 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. Jeffrey R. Campbell & Zvi Hercowitz, 2009. "Liquidity constraints of the middle class," Working Paper Series WP-09-20, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  3. Fortin, Nicole M, 1995. "Allocation Inflexibilities, Female Labor Supply, and Housing Assets Accumulation: Are Women Working to Pay the Mortgage?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(3), pages 524-57, July.
  4. 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.
  5. Bernanke, B. & Gertler, M. & Gilchrist, S., 1998. "The Financial Accelerator in a Quantitative Business Cycle Framework," Working Papers 98-03, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  6. Jeffrey R. Campbell & Zvi Hercowitz, 2005. "The Role of Collateralized Household Debt in Macroeconomic Stabilization," NBER Working Papers 11330, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  8. Del Boca, Daniela & Lusardi, Annamaria, 2002. "Credit Market Constraints and Labor Market Decisions," IZA Discussion Papers 598, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Jeffrey R. Campbell & Zvi Hercowitz, 2006. "Welfare implications of the transition to high household debt," Working Paper Series WP-06-27, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  10. King, Robert G. & Plosser, Charles I. & Rebelo, Sergio T., 1988. "Production, growth and business cycles : I. The basic neoclassical model," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2-3), pages 195-232.
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  13. Jonas D. M. Fisher, 2007. "Why Does Household Investment Lead Business Investment over the Business Cycle?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115, pages 141-168.
  14. Bernanke, Ben & Gertler, Mark, 1989. "Agency Costs, Net Worth, and Business Fluctuations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(1), pages 14-31, March.
  15. Ana M. Aizcorbe & Arthur B. Kennickell & Kevin B. Moore, 2003. "Recent changes in U.S. family finances: evidence from the 1998 and 2001 Survey of Consumer Finances," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Jan, pages 1-32.
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