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Household Debt and Saving During the 2007 Recession

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  • Rajashri Chakrabarti
  • Donghoon Lee
  • Wilbert van der Klaauw
  • Basit Zafar

Abstract

Using administrative credit report records and data collected through several special household surveys we analyze changes in household debt and savings during the 2007 recession. We find that while different segments of the population were affected in distinct ways, depending on whether they owned a home, whether they owned stocks and whether they had secure jobs, the crisis' impact appears to have been widespread, affecting large shares of households across all age, income and education groups. In response to their deteriorated financial situation, households reduced their average spending and increased saving. The latter increase - at least in 2009 - did not materialize itself through an increase in contributions to retirement and savings accounts. If anything, such contributions actually declined on average during that year. Instead, the higher saving rate appears to reflect a considerable decline in household debt, with households paying down mortgage debt in particular. At the end of 2009 individuals expected to continue to increase saving and pay down debt, which is consistent with what we have observed so far in 2010. In contrast, consumers were pessimistic about the availability of credit, with credit expected to become harder to obtain during 2010.

Suggested Citation

  • Rajashri Chakrabarti & Donghoon Lee & Wilbert van der Klaauw & Basit Zafar, 2011. "Household Debt and Saving During the 2007 Recession," NBER Working Papers 16999, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16999
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Wändi Bruine de Bruin & Simon M. Potter & Robert W. Rich & Giorgio Topa & Wilbert Van der Klaauw, 2010. "Improving survey measures of household inflation expectations," Current Issues in Economics and Finance, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, vol. 16(Aug/Sep).
    2. Meta Brown & Andrew F. Haughwout & Donghoon Lee & Wilbert Van der Klaauw, 2013. "The financial crisis at the kitchen table: trends in household debt and credit," Current Issues in Economics and Finance, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, vol. 19(April).
    3. Andrew F. Haughwout & Richard Peach & Joseph Tracy, 2010. "The homeownership gap," Current Issues in Economics and Finance, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, vol. 16(May).
    4. Donghoon Lee & Wilbert Van der Klaauw, 2010. "An introduction to the FRBNY Consumer Credit Panel," Staff Reports 479, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Grant Graziani & Wilbert Van der Klaauw & Basit Zafar, 2013. "A boost in the paycheck: survey evidence on workers’ response to the 2011 payroll tax cuts," Staff Reports 592, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    3. Sule Alan & Thomas Crossley & Hamish Low, 2012. "Saving on a Rainy Day, Borrowing for a Rainy Day," Koç University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum Working Papers 1212, Koc University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum.
    4. Meta Brown & Andrew F. Haughwout & Donghoon Lee & Wilbert Van der Klaauw, 2013. "The financial crisis at the kitchen table: trends in household debt and credit," Current Issues in Economics and Finance, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, vol. 19(April).
    5. Sherrie L. W. Rhine & Wenhua Di & William H. Greene & Emily Perlmeter, 2016. "Savings Account Ownership During the Great Recession," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 37(3), pages 333-348, September.
    6. Acharya, Viral V & Mora, Nada, 2011. "Are Banks Passive Liquidity Backstops? Deposit Rates and Flows during the 2007-2009 Crisis," CEPR Discussion Papers 8706, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Jaanika Meriküll, 2015. "Household Borrowing During a Creditless Recovery," Emerging Markets Finance and Trade, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 51(5), pages 1051-1068, September.
    8. Sinclair Davidson & Ashton de Silva, 2013. "Stimulating Savings: An Analysis of Cash Handouts in Australia and the United States," Agenda - A Journal of Policy Analysis and Reform, Australian National University, College of Business and Economics, School of Economics, vol. 20(2), pages 39-60.
    9. Roberto Álvarez & Luis Opazo, 2013. "Household Debt During the Financial Crisis: Micro-Evidence from Chile," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 695, Central Bank of Chile.
    10. Terri Friedline & Ilsung Nam & Vernon Loke, 2014. "Households’ Net Worth Accumulation Patterns and Young Adults’ Financial Health: Ripple Effects of the Great Recession?," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 35(3), pages 390-410, September.
    11. Merike Kukk, 2014. "Distinguishing the components of household financial wealth: the impact of liabilities on assets in Euro Area countries," Bank of Estonia Working Papers wp2014-2, Bank of Estonia, revised 10 Oct 2014.
    12. 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.
    13. Willem Vanlaer & Samantha Bielen & Wim Marneffe, 2020. "Consumer Confidence and Household Saving Behaviors: A Cross-Country Empirical Analysis," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 147(2), pages 677-721, January.
    14. Andrew F. Haughwout & Donghoon Lee & Joseph Tracy & Wilbert Van der Klaauw, 2011. "Real estate investors, the leverage cycle, and the housing market crisis," Staff Reports 514, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    15. Grant Graziani & Wilbert van der Klaauw & Basit Zafar, 2016. "Workers' Spending Response to the 2011 Payroll Tax Cuts," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 124-159, November.
    16. 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 of Labor Economics (IZA).
    17. Shannon T. Mejía & Richard A. Settersten & Michelle C. Odden & Karen Hooker, 2016. "Responses to Financial Loss During the Great Recession: An Examination of Sense of Control in Late Midlife," Journals of Gerontology: Series B, Gerontological Society of America, vol. 71(4), pages 734-744.
    18. Dancho Petrov & Evgeniya Tonkova & Svetlana Todorova, 2020. "Structural and Value Dimensions of Household Indebtedness in Bulgaria," Izvestia Journal of the Union of Scientists - Varna. Economic Sciences Series, Union of Scientists - Varna, Economic Sciences Section, vol. 9(1), pages 17-25, April.
    19. Pankaj K. Maskara & Florence Neymotin, 2021. "Do Credit Unions Serve the Underserved?," Eastern Economic Journal, Palgrave Macmillan;Eastern Economic Association, vol. 47(2), pages 184-205, April.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises

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