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Household Debt and Income Inequality, 1963-2003

  • Matteo Iacoviello

    ()

    (Economics Boston College)

I construct a heterogeneous agents economy that mimics the time-series behavior of the US earnings distribution from 1963 to 2003. Agents face aggregate and idiosyncratic shocks and accumulate real and financial assets. I estimate the shocks driving the model using data on income inequality, on aggregate income and on measures of financial liberalization. I show how the model economy can replicate two empirical facts: the trend and cyclical behavior of household debt, and the diverging patterns in consumption and wealth inequality over time. In particular, I show that, while short-run changes in household debt can be accounted for by aggregate fluctuations, the rise in household debt of the 1980s and the 1990s can be quantitatively explained only by the concurrent increase in income inequality

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Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2006 Meeting Papers with number 585.

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Date of creation: 03 Dec 2006
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Handle: RePEc:red:sed006:585
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