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Debt Constraints and Employment

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  • Patrick Kehoe
  • Elena Pastorino
  • Virgiliu Midrigan

Abstract

During the Great Recession, regions of the United States that experienced the largest declines in household debt also experienced the largest drops in consumption, employment, and wages. Employment declines were larger in the nontradable sector and for firms that were facing the worst credit conditions. Motivated by these findings, we develop a search and matching model with credit frictions that affect both consumers and firms. In the model, tighter debt constraints raise the cost of investing in new job vacancies and thus reduce worker job finding rates and employment. Two key features of our model, on-the-job human capital accumulation and consumer-side credit frictions, are critical to generating sizable drops in employment. On-the-job human capital accumulation makes the flows of benefits from posting vacancies long-lived and so greatly amplifies the sensitivity of such investments to credit frictions. Consumer-side credit frictions further magnify these effects by leading wages to fall only modestly. We show that the model reproduces well the salient cross-regional features of the U.S. data during the Great Recession.

Suggested Citation

  • Patrick Kehoe & Elena Pastorino & Virgiliu Midrigan, 2016. "Debt Constraints and Employment," NBER Working Papers 22614, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:22614
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    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Debt Constraints and Unemployment
      by Christian Zimmermann in NEP-DGE blog on 2015-03-23 09:29:05

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    Cited by:

    1. Leibovici, Fernando & Waugh, Michael E., 2019. "International trade and intertemporal substitution," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 158-174.
    2. Edouard Challe & Julien Matheron & Xavier Ragot & Juan F. Rubio‐Ramirez, 2017. "Precautionary saving and aggregate demand," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 8(2), pages 435-478, July.
    3. Stefania Albanesi, 2016. "Credit Growth and the Financial Crisis: A New Narrative," 2016 Meeting Papers 575, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    4. Kyle Herkenhoff, 2016. "The Impact of Consumer Credit Access on Employment, Earnings and Entrepreneurship," 2016 Meeting Papers 781, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    5. Abdoulaye Millogo & Jean-François Rouillard, 2019. "Missing Disinflation and Human Capital Depreciation," Cahiers de recherche 19-03, Departement d'Economique de l'École de gestion à l'Université de Sherbrooke.
    6. Alejandro Justiniano & Giorgio E. Primiceri & Andrea Tambalotti, 2016. "A Simple Model of Subprime Borrowers and Credit Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(5), pages 543-547, May.
    7. J. Paolo Martellini & Guido Menzio & Ludo Visschers, 2019. "Revisiting the Hypothesis of High Discounts and High Unemployment," PIER Working Paper Archive 19-011, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
    8. Benjamin Wild Pugsley & Ay’egul ahin, 2019. "Grown-up Business Cycles," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 32(3), pages 1102-1147.
    9. Patrick Kehoe & Elena Pastorino & Pierlauro Lopez & Virgiliu Midrigan, 2018. "Asset Prices and Unemployment Fluctuations," 2018 Meeting Papers 1119, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    10. Patrick J. Kehoe & Virgiliu Midrigan & Elena Pastorino, 2018. "Evolution of Modern Business Cycle Models: Accounting for the Great Recession," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 32(3), pages 141-166, Summer.
    11. Patrick J. Kehoe & Virgiliu Midrigan & Elena Pastorino, 2017. "On the Importance of Easing Consumer Credit Frictions," Economic Policy Paper 17-5, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    12. Marieke Bos & Emily Breza & Andres Liberman, 2018. "The Labor Market Effects of Credit Market Information," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 31(6), pages 2005-2037.
    13. Guerrieri, V. & Uhlig, H., 2016. "Housing and Credit Markets," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & Harald Uhlig (ed.),Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 0, pages 1427-1496, Elsevier.
    14. Moscarini, Giuseppe & Postel-Vinay, Fabien, 2018. "On the Job Search and Business Cycles," IZA Discussion Papers 11853, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    15. Robert E. Hall, 2017. "High Discounts and High Unemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(2), pages 305-330, February.
    16. Dmitriy Sergeyev & Neil Mehrotra, 2015. "Financial Shocks and Job Flows," 2015 Meeting Papers 520, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    17. Luisito Bertinelli & Olivier Cardi & Romain Restout, 2015. "Technical Change Biased Toward the Traded Sector and Labor Market Frictions," Working Papers halshs-01252508, HAL.
    18. Niklas Engbom, 2019. "Application Cycles," 2019 Meeting Papers 1170, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    19. Patrick Kehoe & Pierlauro Lopez & Virgiliu Midrigan & Elena Pastorino, 2020. "On the Importance of Household versus Firm Credit Frictions in the Great Recession," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 38, pages 1-2, August.
    20. Neele Balke, 2018. "The Employment Cost of Sovereign Default," 2018 Meeting Papers 1256, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    21. van Binsbergen, Jules H. & Koijen, Ralph S.J., 2017. "The term structure of returns: Facts and theory," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 124(1), pages 1-21.
    22. Alan Finkelstein Shapiro & Maria Olivero, 2018. "Lending Relationships and Labor Market Dynamics," 2018 Meeting Papers 1113, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    23. David P. Glancy, 2017. "Housing Bust, Bank Lending & Employment : Evidence from Multimarket Banks," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2017-118, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

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