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The Impact of Interest-rate Subsidies on Long-term Household Debt: Evidence from a Large Program


  • Nuno C. Martins
  • Ernesto Villanueva


The responsiveness of long-term household debt to the interest rate is a crucial parameter for assessing the effectiveness of public policies aimed at promoting specific types of saving. This paper estimates the effect of a reform of Credito Bonificado, a large program in Portugal that subsidized mortgage interest rates, on long-term household debt. The reform established a ceiling in the price of the house that could be financed through the program, and provides plausibly exogenous variation in incentives. Using a unique dataset of matched household survey data and administrative records of debt, we document a large decrease in the probability of signing a new loan after the removal of the subsidy.

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  • Nuno C. Martins & Ernesto Villanueva, 2003. "The Impact of Interest-rate Subsidies on Long-term Household Debt: Evidence from a Large Program," Working Papers w200314, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
  • Handle: RePEc:ptu:wpaper:w200314

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Nuno Martins & Ernesto Villanueva, 2006. "Does limited access to mortgage debt explain why young adults live with their parents?," Working Papers 0628, Banco de España;Working Papers Homepage.
    2. Herrala, Risto & Kauko, Karlo, 2007. "Household loan loss risk in Finland : estimations and simulations with micro data," Research Discussion Papers 5/2007, Bank of Finland.
    3. Martins, Nuno C. & Villanueva, Ernesto, 2006. "The impact of mortgage interest-rate subsidies on household borrowing," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(8-9), pages 1601-1623, September.
    4. Meng, Xianming & Hoang, Nam T. & Siriwardana, Mahinda, 2013. "The determinants of Australian household debt: A macro level study," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 80-90.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General


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