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A Quantitative Theory of Information and Unsecured Credit

  • Kartik Athreya

    (Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond)

Over the past three decades four striking features of aggregates in the unsecured credit market have been documented: (1) rising availability of credit along both the intensive and extensive margins, (2) rising debt accumulation, (3) rising bankruptcy rates and discharge in bankruptcy, and (4) rising dispersion in interest rates across households. We provide a quantitative model of unsecured credit to interpret these facts; a novel contribution is that we allow for asymmetric information with individualized loan pricing. Our main finding is that all four outcomes mentioned above are consistent with the hypothesis that lenders observe more components of individual income now than in earlier periods. In addition, the paper makes a methodological contribution: an algorithm to locate equilibria with individualized pricing under asymmetric information, a task that is complicated by the requirement that off-equilibrium beliefs and prices are essential for equilibrium outcomes.

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Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2008 Meeting Papers with number 68.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:red:sed008:68
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Web page: http://www.EconomicDynamics.org/society.htm
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  1. Satyajit Chatterjee & Dean Corbae & Makoto Nakajima & Jose-Victor Rios-Rull, 2002. "A Quantitative Theory of Unsecured Consumer Credit with Risk of Default," Centro de Alti­simos Estudios Ri­os Pe©rez(CAERP) 2, Centro de Altisimos Estudios Rios Perez (CAERP).
  2. Satyajit Chatterjee & Dean Corbae, 2004. "A Competitive Theory of Credit Scoring," 2004 Meeting Papers 823, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  3. Mateos-Planas, Xavier, 2009. "A model of credit limits and bankruptcy with applications to welfare and indebtedness," Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics 0910, Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton.
  4. Robert B. Avery & Raphael W. Bostic & Paul S. Calem & Glenn B. Canner, 2000. "Credit Scoring: Statistical Issues and Evidence from Credit-Bureau Files," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 28(3), pages 523-547.
  5. Igor Livshits & James MacGee & Michèle Tertilt, 2007. "Accounting for the Rise in Consumer Bankruptcies," NBER Working Papers 13363, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Satyajit Chatterjee & Dean Corbae & Jose-Victor Rios-Rull, 2006. "Finite-Life, Private-Information Theory of Unsecured Debt," 2006 Meeting Papers 781, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  7. Fatih Guvenen, 2006. "Learning your earning: are labor income shocks really very persistent?," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 145, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  8. Hellwig, Martin, 1989. "Asymmetric information, financial markets, and financial institutions Where are we currently going?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(2-3), pages 277-285, March.
  9. Zhang, Harold H, 1997. " Endogenous Borrowing Constraints with Incomplete Markets," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(5), pages 2187-2209, December.
  10. Mark Furletti, 2003. "Credit card pricing developments and their disclosure," Payment Cards Center Discussion Paper 03-02, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  11. Athreya, Kartik B., 2008. "Default, insurance, and debt over the life-cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 752-774, May.
  12. 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.
  13. Faruk Gul & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 2001. "Temptation and Self-Control," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(6), pages 1403-1435, November.
  14. Mas-Colell, Andreu & Whinston, Michael D. & Green, Jerry R., 1995. "Microeconomic Theory," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195102680, March.
  15. Edelberg, Wendy, 2006. "Risk-based pricing of interest rates for consumer loans," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(8), pages 2283-2298, November.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. Berger, Allen N & Frame, W Scott & Miller, Nathan H, 2005. "Credit Scoring and the Availability, Price, and Risk of Small Business Credit," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 37(2), pages 191-222, April.
  19. R. Glenn Hubbard & Jonathan Skinner & Stephen P. Zeldes, 1993. "The Importance of Precautionary Motives in Explaining Individual and Aggregate Saving," NBER Working Papers 4516, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Dirk Krueger & Fabrizio Perri, 2006. "Does Income Inequality Lead to Consumption Inequality? Evidence and Theory -super-1," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(1), pages 163-193.
  21. Robert M. Hunt, 2005. "A century of consumer credit reporting in America," Working Papers 05-13, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  22. Kartik Athreya, 2004. "Shame as it ever was : stigma and personal bankruptcy," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Spr, pages 1-19.
  23. Calem, Paul S. & Gordy, Michael B. & Mester, Loretta J., 2006. "Switching costs and adverse selection in the market for credit cards: New evidence," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 1653-1685, June.
  24. Fay, S. & Hurst, E. & White, M.J., 1998. "The Bankruptcy Decision: Does Stigma Matter?," Papers 98-01, Michigan - Center for Research on Economic & Social Theory.
  25. Athreya, Kartik & Tam, Xuan S. & Young, Eric R., 2009. "Unsecured credit markets are not insurance markets," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 83-103, January.
  26. Victor Rios-Rull & Dean Corbae: & Satyajit Chatterjee, 2011. "A Theory of Credit Scoring and the Competitive Pricing of Default Risk," 2011 Meeting Papers 1115, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  27. Fatih Guvenen, 2004. "Learning your Earning: Are Labor Income Shocks Really That Persistent?," 2004 Meeting Papers 177, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  28. Larry G. Epstein & Stanley E. Zin, 1987. "Substitution, Risk Aversion and the Temporal Behaviour of Consumption and Asset Returns I: A Theoretical Framework," Working Papers 699, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  29. Juan M. Sanchez, 2008. "The Role of Information in Consumer Debt and Bankruptcy," 2008 Meeting Papers 523, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  30. Athreya, Kartik B., 2002. "Welfare implications of the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1999," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(8), pages 1567-1595, November.
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