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The Nature of Credit Constraints and Human Capital

  • Lance J. Lochner
  • Alexander Monge-Naranjo

This paper studies the nature and impact of credit constraints in the market for human capital. We derive endogenous constraints from the design of government student loan programs and from the limited repayment incentives in private lending markets. These constraints imply cross-sectional patterns for schooling, ability, and family income that are consistent with U.S. data. This contrasts with the standard exogenous constraint model, which predicts a counterfactual negative ability -- schooling relationship for low-income youth. We show that the rising empirical importance of familial wealth and income in determining college attendance (Belley and Lochner 2007) is consistent with increasingly binding credit constraints in the face of rising tuition costs and returns to schooling. Our framework also explains the recent increase in private credit for college as a market response to the rising returns to school.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13912.

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Date of creation: Apr 2008
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Publication status: published as Lance J. Lochner & Alexander Monge-Naranjo, 2011. "The Nature of Credit Constraints and Human Capital," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(6), pages 2487-2529, October.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13912
Note: ED EFG LS PE
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  1. Katz, Lawrence F. & Autor, David H., 1999. "Changes in the wage structure and earnings inequality," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 26, pages 1463-1555 Elsevier.
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  3. Todd R. Stinebrickner & Ralph Stinebrickner, 2007. "The Effect of Credit Constraints on the College Drop-Out Decision: A Direct Approach Using a New Panel Study," University of Western Ontario, Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP) Working Papers 20071, University of Western Ontario, Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP).
  4. Lance J. Lochner & Alexander Monge-Naranjo, 2011. "The Nature of Credit Constraints and Human Capital," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(6), pages 2487-2529, October.
  5. Eric Hanushek & Charles Ka Yui Leung & Kuzey Yilmaz, 2001. "Redistribution through Education and Other Transfer Mechanisms," NBER Working Papers 8588, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman & Lance Lochner & Dimitriy V. Masterov, 2005. "Interpreting the Evidence on Life Cycle Skill Formation," NBER Working Papers 11331, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. James J. Heckman & Lance Lochner & Christopher Taber, 1998. "Explaining Rising Wage Inequality: Explorations with a Dynamic General Equilibrium Model of Labor Earnings with Heterogeneous Agents," NBER Working Papers 6384, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Narayana Kocherlakota, 2010. "Implications of Efficient Risk Sharing Without Commitment," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2053, David K. Levine.
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  11. Dick Andrew W. & Edlin Aaron S. & Emch Eric R., 2003. "The Savings Impact of College Financial Aid," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 2(1), pages 1-31, June.
  12. Pedro Carneiro & James J. Heckman, 2002. "The Evidence on Credit Constraints in Post-Secondary Schooling," NBER Working Papers 9055, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  16. Philippe Belley & Lance Lochner, 2008. "The Changing Role of Family Income and Ability in Determining Educational Achievement," University of Western Ontario, Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP) Working Papers 20081, University of Western Ontario, Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP).
  17. Stephen V. Cameron & Christopher Taber, 2004. "Estimation of Educational Borrowing Constraints Using Returns to Schooling," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(1), pages 132-182, February.
  18. Meta Brown & John Karl Scholz & Ananth Seshadri, 2010. "A New Test of Borrowing Constraints for Education," Working Papers 2011-003, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
  19. Timothy J Kehoe & David K Levine, 1993. "Debt Constrained Asset Markets," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1276, David K. Levine.
  20. Jesus Fernandez-Villaverde & Dirk Krueger, 2004. "Consumption and Saving over the Life Cycle: How Important are Consumer Durables?," 2004 Meeting Papers 357b, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  21. Stephen V. Cameron & James J. Heckman, 2001. "The Dynamics of Educational Attainment for Black, Hispanic, and White Males," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(3), pages 455-499, June.
  22. S. Rao Aiyagari & Jeremy Greenwood & Ananth Seshadri, 2001. "Efficient Investment in Children," RCER Working Papers 481, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
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  24. Satyajit Chatterjee & Felicia Ionescu, 2010. "Insuring college failure risk," Working Papers 10-1, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  25. Keane, Michael P & Wolpin, Kenneth I, 2001. "The Effect of Parental Transfers and Borrowing Constraints on Educational Attainment," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1051-1103, November.
  26. Lang, Kevin, 1993. "Ability Bias, Discount Rate Bias and the Return to Education," MPRA Paper 24651, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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  33. Elizabeth M. Caucutt & Krishna B. Kumar, 2000. "Higher Education Subsidies and Heterogeneity, A Dynamic Analysis," RCER Working Papers 472, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  34. Alexander Monge-Naranjo, 2009. "Entrepreneurship and firm heterogeneity with limited enforcement," Annals of Finance, Springer, vol. 5(3), pages 465-494, June.
  35. 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.
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