IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Household Need for Liquidity and the Credit Card Debt Puzzle

  • Telyukova, Irina A.

In the 2001 U.S. Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF), 27% of households report simultaneously revolving significant credit card debt and holding sizeable amounts of liquid assets. These consumers report paying, on average, a 14% interest rate on their debt, while earning only 1 or 2% on their liquid deposit accounts. This phenomenon is known in the literature as the “credit card debt puzzle.” In this paper, I pose and quantitatively evaluate the following explanation for this puzzle: households that accumulate credit card debt may not pay it off using their money in the bank, because they expect to use that money for goods for which credit cards cannot be used. Using both aggregate and survey data (SCF and CEX), I document that liquid assets are a substantial part of households’ portfolios and that consumption in goods requiring liquid payments may have a sizeable unpredictable component. This would warrant holding precautionary balances in liquid accounts. I develop a dynamic heterogeneous-agent model of household portfolio choice, where households are subject to uninsurable income and preference uncertainty, and consumer credit and liquidity coexist as means of consumption and saving/borrowing. The calibration of the model parameters is based on the simulated method of moments. The calibrated model accounts for 73% of the households in the data who hold consumer debt and liquidity simultaneously, and for at least 55 cents of every dollar held by a median household in the puzzle group. I argue that these results are a lower bound, and that the liquidity-need hypothesis is thus successful in rendering most of the puzzle a rational phenomenon.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/6674/1/MPRA_paper_6674.pdf
File Function: original version
Download Restriction: no

File URL: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/15040/4/MPRA_paper_15040.pdf
File Function: revised version
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 6674.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: 26 Dec 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:6674
Contact details of provider: Postal: Schackstr. 4, D-80539 Munich, Germany
Phone: +49-(0)89-2180-2219
Fax: +49-(0)89-2180-3900
Web page: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Jesus Fernández-Villaverde & Dirk Krueger, 2007. "Consumption over the Life Cycle: Facts from Consumer Expenditure Survey Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(3), pages 552-565, August.
  2. David B. Gross, 2002. "An Empirical Analysis of Personal Bankruptcy and Delinquency," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 15(1), pages 319-347, March.
  3. Satyajit Chatterjee & Dean Corbae & Makoto Nakajima & José-Víctor Ríos-Rull, 2007. "A Quantitative Theory of Unsecured Consumer Credit with Risk of Default," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(6), pages 1525-1589, November.
  4. Jonathan Heathcote & Kjetil Storesletten & Giovanni L. Violante, 2010. "The Macroeconomic Implications of Rising Wage Inequality in the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(4), pages 681-722, 08.
  5. John V. Duca & William C. Whitesell, 1991. "Credit cards and money demand: a cross-sectional study," Research Paper 9112, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
  6. Dirk Kreuger & Fabrizio Perri, 2002. "Does Income Inequality Lead to Consumption Inequality? Evidence and Theory," Working Papers 02-15, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
  7. Andreas Lehnert & Dean M. Maki, 2002. "Consumption, debt and portfolio choice: testing the effect of bankruptcy law," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2002-14, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  8. Carol C. Bertaut & Michael Haliassos, 2001. "Debt Revolvers for Self Control," University of Cyprus Working Papers in Economics 0208, University of Cyprus Department of Economics.
  9. David B. Gross & Nicholas S. Souleles, 2001. "Do Liquidity Constraints and Interest Rates Matter for Consumer Behavior? Evidence from Credit Card Data," NBER Working Papers 8314, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Fatih Guvenen & Anthony Smith, 2010. "Inferring labor income risk from economic choices: an indirect inference approach," Staff Report 450, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  11. Telyukova, Irina A. & Visschers, Ludo, 2011. "Precautionary demand for money in a monetary business cycle model," MPRA Paper 36905, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  12. Jesús Fernández-Villaverde & Dirk Krueger, 2003. "Consumption over the Life Cycle: Some Facts from Consumer Expenditure Survey Data," Levine's Working Paper Archive 506439000000000304, David K. Levine.
  13. Schreft, S L, 1992. "Transaction Costs and the Use of Cash and Credit," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 2(2), pages 283-96, April.
  14. Erosa, Andres & Ventura, Gustavo, 2002. "On inflation as a regressive consumption tax," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 761-795, May.
  15. Edward S. Prescott & Daniel D. Tatar, 1999. "Means of payment, the unbanked, and EFT '99," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Fall, pages 49-70.
  16. Kjetil Storesletten & Chris Telmer & Amir Yaron, 1997. "Consumption and risk sharing over the life cycle," GSIA Working Papers 228, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
  17. Bernheim, B Douglas, 1991. "Optimal Fiscal and Monetary Policy: Some Recent Results," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 23(3), pages 540-42, August.
  18. Fumiko Hayashi & Elizabeth Klee, 2002. "Technology adoption and consumer payments : evidence from survey data," Payments System Research Working Paper PSR WP 02-01, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
  19. Gourieroux, Christian & Monfort, Alain, 1997. "Simulation-based Econometric Methods," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198774754, March.
  20. Tauchen, George, 1986. "Finite state markov-chain approximations to univariate and vector autoregressions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 177-181.
  21. Thomas A. Durkin, 2000. "Credit cards: use and consumer attitudes, 1970-2000," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Sep, pages 623-634.
  22. Robert Shimer, 2005. "The Cyclical Behavior of Equilibrium Unemployment and Vacancies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 25-49, March.
  23. Peter S. Yoo, 1998. "Still charging: the growth of credit card debt between 1992 and 1995," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jan, pages 19-27.
  24. Dirk Krueger & Fabrizio Perri, 2003. "On the Welfare Consequences of the Increase in Inequality in the United States," NBER Working Papers 9993, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. Kartik Athreya, 2004. "Fresh start or head start? Uniform bankruptcy exemptions and welfare," Working Paper 03-03, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  26. Hopenhayn, Hugo A & Prescott, Edward C, 1992. "Stochastic Monotonicity and Stationary Distributions for Dynamic Economies," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(6), pages 1387-406, November.
  27. Irina A. Telyukova & Randall Wright, 2006. "A Model of Money and Credit, with Application to the Credit Card Debt Puzzle," 2006 Meeting Papers 45, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  28. V.V. Chari & Lawrence J. Christiano & Patrick J. Kehoe, 1991. "Optimal fiscal and monetary policy: some recent results," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, pages 519-546.
  29. Gervais, Martin & Klein, Paul, 2010. "Measuring consumption smoothing in CEX data," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(8), pages 988-999, November.
  30. Ausubel, Lawrence M, 1991. "The Failure of Competition in the Credit Card Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 50-81, March.
  31. Eisfeldt, Andrea L., 2007. "Smoothing with liquid and illiquid assets," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(6), pages 1572-1586, September.
  32. David Laibson & Andrea Repetto & Jeremy Tobacman, 2000. "A Debt Puzzle," Documentos de Trabajo 80, Centro de Economía Aplicada, Universidad de Chile.
  33. Donghoon Lee & Matthew Wiswall, 2007. "A Parallel Implementation of the Simplex Function Minimization Routine," Computational Economics, Society for Computational Economics, vol. 30(2), pages 171-187, September.
  34. Orazio Attanasio & Erich Battistin & Hidehiko Ichimura, 2004. "What Really Happened to Consumption Inequality in the US?," NBER Working Papers 10338, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  35. Lacker, Jeffrey M. & Schreft, Stacey L., 1996. "Money and credit as means of payment," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 3-23, August.
  36. Kjetil Storesletten & Chris I. Telmer & Amir Yaron, 2004. "Cyclical Dynamics in Idiosyncratic Labor Market Risk," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(3), pages 695-717, June.
  37. Vincenzo Quadrini & José-Víctor Ríos-Rull, 1997. "Understanding the U.S. distribution of wealth," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Spr, pages 22-36.
  38. Martin Browning & Annamaria Lusardi, 1996. "Household Saving: Micro Theories and Micro Facts," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(4), pages 1797-1855, December.
  39. Castaneda, Ana & Diaz-Gimenez, Javier & Rios-Rull, Jose-Victor, 1998. "Exploring the income distribution business cycle dynamics," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 93-130, June.
  40. Thomas A. Durkin, 2002. "Consumers and credit disclosures: credit cards and credit insurance," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Apr, pages 201-213.
  41. Telyukova, Irina A. & Visschers, Ludo, 2013. "Precautionary money demand in a business-cycle model," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(8), pages 900-916.
  42. Santiago Budria Rodriguez & Javier Diaz-Gimenez & Vincenzo Quadrini & Jose-Victor Rior-Rull, 2002. "Updated facts on the U.S. distributions of earnings, income, and wealth," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Sum, pages 2-35.
  43. Joanna Stavins, 2000. "Credit card borrowing, delinquency, and personal bankruptcy," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue Jul, pages 15-30.
  44. Brito, Dagobert L & Hartley, Peter R, 1995. "Consumer Rationality and Credit Cards," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(2), pages 400-433, April.
  45. Kathleen W. Johnson, 2004. "Convenience or necessity? understanding the recent rise in credit card debt," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2004-47, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is featured on the following reading lists or Wikipedia pages:

  1. Economic Logic blog

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:6674. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Ekkehart Schlicht)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.