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Improved Matching, Directed Search, and Bargaining in the Credit Card Market

Author

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  • Gajendran Raveendranathan

Abstract

I build a model of revolving credit in which consumers face idiosyncratic earnings risk, and credit card firms direct their search to consumers. Upon a match, they bargain over borrowing limits and borrowing interest rates — fixed for the duration of the match. Using the model, I show that improved matching between consumers and credit card firms, calibrated to match the rise in the population with credit cards, accounts for the rise in revolving credit and consumer bankruptcies in the United States. I also provide empirical evidence consistent with the two key features in my model: directed search and bargaining. The lifetime consumption gains from improved matching are 3.55 percent— substantially larger than those previously estimated by alternative explanations for the rise in revolving credit and consumer bankruptcies (0.03-0.57 percent). Finally, I analyze how the credit card firm’s bargaining power impacts the welfare of introducing stricter bankruptcy laws.

Suggested Citation

  • Gajendran Raveendranathan, 2018. "Improved Matching, Directed Search, and Bargaining in the Credit Card Market," Department of Economics Working Papers 2018-05, McMaster University.
  • Handle: RePEc:mcm:deptwp:2018-05
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    File URL: http://socialsciences.mcmaster.ca/econ/rsrch/papers/archive/2018-05.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Igor Livshits & James MacGee & Michèle Tertilt, 2010. "Accounting for the Rise in Consumer Bankruptcies," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 165-193, April.
    2. Kartik Athreya & Xuan S. Tam & Eric R. Young, 2012. "A Quantitative Theory of Information and Unsecured Credit," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(3), pages 153-183, July.
    3. Karen E. Dynan & Kathleen W. Johnson & Karen M. Pence, 2003. "Recent changes to a measure of U.S. household debt service," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Oct, pages 417-426.
    4. Mateos-Planas, Xavier & Seccia, Giulio, 2006. "Welfare implications of endogenous credit limits with bankruptcy," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 30(11), pages 2081-2115, November.
    5. Zachary Bethune & Guillaume Rocheteau & Peter Rupert, 2015. "Aggregate Unemployment and Household Unsecured Debt," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 18(1), pages 77-100, January.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Improved Matching, Directed Search, and Bargaining in the Credit Card Market
      by Christian Zimmermann in NEP-DGE blog on 2018-02-21 02:54:18

    More about this item

    Keywords

    revolving credit; consumer bankruptcy; matching; directed search; bargaining;

    JEL classification:

    • E20 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • G20 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - General

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