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

  • Jonathan Zinman

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.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w19682.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19682.

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Date of creation: Nov 2013
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19682
Note: DEV EFG LE
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  1. Veronica Guerrieri & Guido Lorenzoni, 2011. "Credit Crises, Precautionary Savings, and the Liquidity Trap," NBER Working Papers 17583, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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