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Incomplete Markets and the Evolution of US Consumer Debt

Listed author(s):
  • Winfried Koeniger

    (IZA & University of Bonn)

  • Thomas Hintermaier

    (Institute for Advanced Studies Vienna)

Consumer debt has increased substantially in the US since the 1980s. We show in a incomplete-markets model with durables and occasionally binding collateral constraints that neither the higher uninsurable income risk of US consumers nor the financial deregulation explain this increase. The reason is that uninsurable risk increases the buffer-stock saving motive and that agents who are at the collateral constraint find it optimal not to hold durables. We find instead that the observed fall in the real interest rate by 2 percentage points explains 92% of the actual increase in consumer debt.

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File URL: https://economicdynamics.org/meetpapers/2007/paper_256.pdf
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Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2007 Meeting Papers with number 256.

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Date of creation: 2007
Handle: RePEc:red:sed007:256
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Society for Economic Dynamics Marina Azzimonti Department of Economics Stonybrook University 10 Nicolls Road Stonybrook NY 11790 USA

Web page: http://www.EconomicDynamics.org/
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  1. Charles Himmelberg & Christopher Mayer & Todd Sinai, 2005. "Assessing High House Prices: Bubbles, Fundamentals and Misperceptions," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(4), pages 67-92, Fall.
  2. Steven J. Davis & Felix Kubler & Paul Willen, 2006. "Borrowing Costs and the Demand for Equity over the Life Cycle," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(2), pages 348-362, May.
  3. Sebastian Barnes & Garry Young, 2003. "The rise in US household debt: assessing its causes and sustainability," Bank of England working papers 206, Bank of England.
  4. Deaton, Angus, 1991. "Saving and Liquidity Constraints," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(5), pages 1221-1248, September.
  5. 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.
  6. Aloisio Araujo & Mário Rui Páscoa & Juan Pablo Torres-Martínez, 2002. "Collateral Avoids Ponzi Schemes in Incomplete Markets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(4), pages 1613-1638, July.
  7. Matteo Iacoviello, 2008. "Household Debt and Income Inequality, 1963-2003," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 40(5), pages 929-965, 08.
  8. Chris Carroll & Wendy Dunn, 1997. "Unemployment Expectations, Jumping (S,s) Triggers, and Household Balance Sheets," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1997, Volume 12, pages 165-230 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. S. Rao Aiyagari, 1994. "Uninsured Idiosyncratic Risk and Aggregate Saving," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(3), pages 659-684.
  10. Angus Deaton & Guy Laroque, 1992. "On the Behaviour of Commodity Prices," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 59(1), pages 1-23.
  11. Carroll, Christopher D., 2006. "The method of endogenous gridpoints for solving dynamic stochastic optimization problems," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 91(3), pages 312-320, June.
  12. Christopher D. Carroll, 1997. "Buffer-Stock Saving and the Life Cycle/Permanent Income Hypothesis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(1), pages 1-55.
  13. Christopher D. Carroll, 2001. "A Theory of the Consumption Function, with and without Liquidity Constraints," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(3), pages 23-45, Summer.
  14. Alessie, Rob & Devereux, Michael P. & Weber, Guglielmo, 1997. "Intertemporal consumption, durables and liquidity constraints: A cohort analysis," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 37-59, January.
  15. repec:fth:jonhop:386 is not listed on IDEAS
  16. Jeffrey R. Campbell & Zvi Hercowitz, 2005. "The Role of Collateralized Household Debt in Macroeconomic Stabilization," NBER Working Papers 11330, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Felix Kubler & Karl Schmedders, 2003. "Stationary Equilibria in Asset-Pricing Models with Incomplete Markets and Collateral," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(6), pages 1767-1793, November.
  18. Caporale, Tony & Grier, Kevin B, 2000. "Political Regime Change and the Real Interest Rate," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 32(3), pages 320-334, August.
  19. Judd, Kenneth L., 1992. "Projection methods for solving aggregate growth models," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 410-452, December.
  20. Tullio Jappelli, 1990. "Who is Credit Constrained in the U. S. Economy?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(1), pages 219-234.
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