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Effects of the Financial Crisis and Great Recession on American Households

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  • Michael D. Hurd
  • Susann Rohwedder

Abstract

In this paper we present evidence from high-frequency data collections dedicated to tracking the effects of the financial crisis and great recession on American households. These data come from surveys that we conducted in the American Life Panel - an Internet survey run by RAND Labor and Population. The first survey was fielded at the beginning of November 2008, immediately following the large declines in the stock market of September and October 2008. The next survey followed three months later in February 2009. Since May 2009 we have collected monthly data on the same households. This paper shows the levels and trends of many of these data which summarize the experience and expectations of households during the recession. We find that the effects of the recession are widespread: between November 2008 and April 2010 about 39 percent of households had either been unemployed, had negative equity in their house or had been in arrears in their house payments. Reductions in spending were common especially following unemployment. On average expectations about stock market prices and housing prices are pessimistic, particularly long-run expectations. Among workers, expectations about becoming unemployed have recovered somewhat from their low point in May 2009 but still remain high. Overall the data suggest that households are not optimistic about their economic futures.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael D. Hurd & Susann Rohwedder, 2010. "Effects of the Financial Crisis and Great Recession on American Households," NBER Working Papers 16407, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16407
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Julie Agnew & Pierluigi Balduzzi & Annika Sundén, 2003. "Portfolio Choice and Trading in a Large 401(k) Plan," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 193-215, March.
    2. Melvin Stephens, 2001. "The Long-Run Consumption Effects Of Earnings Shocks," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(1), pages 28-36, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Roberto Bande & Dolores Riveiro, 2013. "Private Saving Rates and Macroeconomic Uncertainty: Evidence from Spanish Regional Data," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 44(3), pages 323-349.
    2. Angus Deaton, 2012. "The financial crisis and the well-being of Americans," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(1), pages 1-26, January.
    3. Alan C. Monheit & Irina Grafova & Rizie Kumar, 2014. "How Does Family Health Care Use Respond to Economic Shocks? Realized and Anticipated Effects," NBER Working Papers 20348, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. James Banks & Rowena Crawford & Thomas Crossley & Carl Emmerson, 2012. "The effect of the financial crisis on older households in England," IFS Working Papers W12/09, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    5. Luc Aroondel & Frédérique Savignac & Kévin Tracol, 2014. "Wealth and Consumption: French Households in the Crisis," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 10(3), pages 163-204, September.
    6. Yvonne McCarthy & Kieran McQuinn, 2017. "Price Expectations, Distressed Mortgage Markets and the Housing Wealth Effect," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 45(2), pages 478-513, April.
    7. Darko, Francis Addeah & Eales, James S., 2013. "Meat Demand in the US During and After the Great Recession," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 150146, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    8. Christelis, Dimitris & Georgarakos, Dimitris & Jappelli, Tullio, 2015. "Wealth shocks, unemployment shocks and consumption in the wake of the Great Recession," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 21-41.
    9. Kyle Herkenhoff, 2014. "The Impact of Consumer Credit Access on Unemployment," 2014 Meeting Papers 448, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    10. Thomas F. Crossley & Joachim K. Winter, 2014. "Asking Households about Expenditures: What Have We Learned?," NBER Chapters,in: Improving the Measurement of Consumer Expenditures, pages 23-50 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Niu, G., 2014. "Essays on subjective expectations and mortality trends," Other publications TiSEM b9f72836-d8ad-478b-adca-4, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    12. Ifcher, John & Zarghamee, Homa & Cabacungan, Amanda, 2016. "The Great Recession and Life Satisfaction: The Unique Decline for Americans Approaching Retirement Age," IZA Discussion Papers 10452, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    13. Zhang, David Hao, 2016. "How do people pay rent?," Research Data Report 16-2, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
    14. Luc Bissonnette & Arthur van Soest, 2015. "The Financial Crisis and Consumers' Income and Pension Expectations," Cahiers de recherche 1502, Chaire de recherche Industrielle Alliance sur les enjeux économiques des changements démographiques.
    15. Roberto Alvarez & Luis Opazo, 2013. "Household Debt during the Financial Crisis: Micro-Evidence from Chile," Working Papers wp383, University of Chile, Department of Economics.
    16. Greene, Claire & O'Brien, Shaun & Schuh, Scott, 2017. "U. S. consumer cash use, 2012 and 2015: an introduction to the Diary of Consumer Payment Choice," Research Data Report 17-6, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
    17. Bridget Terry Long, 2014. "The Financial Crisis and College Enrollment: How Have Students and Their Families Responded?," NBER Chapters,in: How the Financial Crisis and Great Recession Affected Higher Education, pages 209-233 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Scott Fricker & Brandon Kopp & Nhien To, 2014. "Exploring a Balance Edit Approach in the Consumer Expenditure Quarterly Interview Survey," NBER Chapters,in: Improving the Measurement of Consumer Expenditures, pages 347-364 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Marco Guerrazzi, 2015. "Animal spirits, investment and unemployment: An old Keynesian view of the Great Recession," Economia, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics], vol. 16(3), pages 343-358.
    20. Ben Beachy, 2012. "A Financial Crisis Manual Causes, Consequences, and Lessons of the Financial Crisis," GDAE Working Papers 12-06, GDAE, Tufts University.
    21. Juan C. Garibay & Felisha A. Herrera & Marc P. Johnston-Guerrero & Gina A. Garcia, 2016. "Layers of Influence: Exploring Institutional- and State-Level Effects on College Student Views Toward Access to Public Education for Undocumented Immigrants," Research in Higher Education, Springer;Association for Institutional Research, vol. 57(5), pages 601-629, August.
    22. Johanna Catherine Maclean & Jonathan H. Cantor & Rosalie Liccardo Pacula, 2015. "Economic downturns and substance abuse treatment: Evidence from admissions data," DETU Working Papers 1504, Department of Economics, Temple University.
    23. Schuh, Scott, 2017. "Measuring consumer expenditures with payment diaries," Working Papers 17-2, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
    24. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier & Nahid Tabatabai, 2011. "How Did the Recession of 2007-2009 Affect the Wealth and Retirement of the Near Retirement Age Population in the Health and Retirement Study?," NBER Working Papers 17547, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    25. Arrondel, L. & Savignac, F. & Tracol, K., 2011. "Wealth Effects on Consumption Plans: French Households in the Crisis," Working papers 344, Banque de France.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D84 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Expectations; Speculations
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

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