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Consumer Credit: Too Much or Too Little (or Just Right)?

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  • Jonathan Zinman

Abstract

The intersection of research and policy on consumer credit often has a Goldilocks feel. Some researchers and policymakers posit that consumer credit markets produce too much credit. Other researchers and policymakers posit that markets produce too little credit. I review theories and evidence on inefficient consumer credit supply. For each of eight classes of theories I sketch some of the leading models and summarize any convincing empirical tests of those models. I also discuss more "circumstantial" evidence that does not map tightly into a particular model but has the potential to shed light on, or obscure, answers to key questions. Overall there is a lack of convincing evidence on whether markets err, and in which direction. We do not yet understand whether and under what conditions markets over-supply or under-supply credit, much less why.

Suggested Citation

  • Jonathan Zinman, 2013. "Consumer Credit: Too Much or Too Little (or Just Right)?," NBER Working Papers 19682, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19682
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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w19682.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Veronica Guerrieri & Guido Lorenzoni, 2017. "Credit Crises, Precautionary Savings, and the Liquidity Trap," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 132(3), pages 1427-1467.
    2. Melzer, Brian T. & Morgan, Donald P., 2015. "Competition in a consumer loan market: Payday loans and overdraft credit," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 25-44.
    3. David Eil & Justin M. Rao, 2011. "The Good News-Bad News Effect: Asymmetric Processing of Objective Information about Yourself," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 114-138, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    Cited by:

    1. Silvia Magri, 2018. "Are lenders using risk-based pricing in the consumer loan market? The effects of the 2008 crisis," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 1164, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • D18 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Protection
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G23 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Non-bank Financial Institutions; Financial Instruments; Institutional Investors
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • R31 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - Housing Supply and Markets

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