Fisher Dynamics in Household Debt: The Case of the U.S. 1929-2011
We examine the importance of what we term ‘Fisher dynamics’- the mechanical e?ects of changes in interest rates, growth rates and in?ation rates on debt levels independent of borrowing -for the evolution of household debt in the U.S. over a long time horizon (1929- 2011). Adapting a standard decomposition of public debt to household sector debt, we show that these factors have been important in explaining rising debt levels, especially in the past thirty years. We identify and describe three broad regimes in the growth of household debt and several shorter episodes, distinguished by the distinct roles played Fisher dynamics and borrowing behavior in the evolution of household debt. We then provide some counterfactual trajectories of debt burdens that suggest how important ?nancial changes beginning around 1980 have been in contributing to household debt, independent of any changes in household behavior. Speci?cally, if average rates of growth, in?ation and interest remained the same after 1980 as before 1980, household debt burdens in 2011 would have been roughly the same as they were in the early 1950s, despite the sharp increase in borrowing in the early 2000s. We then discuss the di?culties involved in deleveraging. Under scenarios involving even substantial reductions in household expenditure, returning to debt levels of the 1980s could take decades. If lower private leverage is a condition of acceptable growth,then in the absence of a substantial fall in interest rates relative to growth rates, large-scale debt forgiveness of some form may be unavoidable.
|Date of creation:|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: 100 Morrissey Blvd., Boston 02125|
Web page: http://economics.umb.edu
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Jeffry Frieden, 2006. "Will global capitalism fall again?," Essays and Lectures 16, Bruegel.
- Stephen Cecchetti & Madhusudan Mohanty & Fabrizio Zampolli, 2010. "The future of public debt: prospects and implications," BIS Working Papers 300, Bank for International Settlements.
- Cynamon Barry Z. & Fazzari Steven M., 2008. "Household Debt in the Consumer Age: Source of Growth--Risk of Collapse," Capitalism and Society, De Gruyter, vol. 3(2), pages 1-32, October.
- Carmen M. Reinhart & M. Belen Sbrancia, 2011.
"The Liquidation of Government Debt,"
NBER Working Papers
16893, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Carmen M. & M. Belen Sbrancia, 2011. "The Liquidation of Government Debt," Working Paper Series WP11-10, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
- Carmen M. Reinhart & M. Belen Sbrancia, 2011. "The Liquidation of Government Debt," BIS Working Papers 363, Bank for International Settlements.
- Carmen Reinhart & M. Belen Sbrancia, 2015. "The Liquidation of Government Debt," IMF Working Papers 15/7, International Monetary Fund.
- George J. Hall & Thomas J. Sargent, 2010.
"Interest rate risk and other determinants of post WWII U.S. government debt/GDP dynamics,"
01, Brandeis University, Department of Economics and International Businesss School.
- George J. Hall & Thomas J. Sargent, 2011. "Interest Rate Risk and Other Determinants of Post-WWII US Government Debt/GDP Dynamics," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 192-214, July.
- George J. Hall & Thomas J. Sargent, 2010. "Interest Rate Risk and Other Determinants of Post-WWII U.S. Government Debt/GDP Dynamics," NBER Working Papers 15702, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Thomas J. Sargent & George J. Hall, 2010. "Interest rate risk and other determinants of post WWII U.S. government debt/GDP dynamics," 2010 Meeting Papers 208, Society for Economic Dynamics.
- Reinhart, Carmen M. & Rogoff, Kenneth S., 2010.
"Growth in a Time of Debt,"
11129154, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Martha L. Olney, 1999. "Avoiding Default: The Role of Credit in the Consumption Collapse of 1930," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(1), pages 319-335.
- Giannitsarou, Chryssi & Scott, Andrew, 2006.
"Inflation Implications of Rising Government Debt,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
5961, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:mab:wpaper:13. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Arjun Jayadev)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.