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The Persistence of Financial Distress

Author

Listed:
  • Juan Sanchez

    (Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis)

  • Jose Mustre-del-Rio

    (Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City)

  • Kartik Athreya

    (Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond)

Abstract

How persistent is financial distress? We answer this question using data on the proximity to debt limits, household debt-income ratios, and the probability that given a past default, a household experiences repayment difficulties. We show that all of these measures indicate that household financial distress is an extremely persistent phenomenon. To what extent can standard theory, as represented by a basic incomplete-markets model in which consumers face state contingent borrowing limits, arising from default risk capture this observed persistence of financial distress? We show that the answer is “not well†: None of a wide array of model variants is capable of capturing this aspect of consumer credit use. This is important, as these baseline models have informed policy discussions on how best to provide debt relief to mitigate consumer financial distress. We then show that a plausible extension of standard approach yields a better account for the persistence of financial distress.

Suggested Citation

  • Juan Sanchez & Jose Mustre-del-Rio & Kartik Athreya, 2016. "The Persistence of Financial Distress," 2016 Meeting Papers 1424, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed016:1424
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Tullio Jappelli & Marco Pagano & Marco Di Maggio, 2013. "Households' indebtedness and financial fragility," Journal of Financial Management, Markets and Institutions, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 1, pages 23-46, January.
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    5. Marianna Brunetti & Elena Giarda & Costanza Torricelli, 2016. "Is Financial Fragility a Matter of Illiquidity? An Appraisal for Italian Households," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 62(4), pages 628-649, December.
    6. Jerry A. Hausman, 1979. "Individual Discount Rates and the Purchase and Utilization of Energy-Using Durables," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 33-54, Spring.
    7. Chatterjee, Satyajit & Corbae, Dean & Ríos-Rull, José-Víctor, 2008. "A finite-life private-information theory of unsecured consumer debt," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 142(1), pages 149-177, September.
    8. Lawrance, Emily C, 1991. "Poverty and the Rate of Time Preference: Evidence from Panel Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(1), pages 54-77, February.
    9. Jonathan Eaton & Mark Gersovitz, 1981. "Debt with Potential Repudiation: Theoretical and Empirical Analysis," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 48(2), pages 289-309.
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    11. Marianna Brunetti & Elena Giarda & Costanza Torricelli, 2016. "Is Financial Fragility a Matter of Illiquidity? An Appraisal for Italian Households," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 62(4), pages 628-649, December.
    12. 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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    Cited by:

    1. Kartik B. Athreya & Ryan Mather & Jose Mustre-del-Rio & Juan M. Sanchez, 2019. "Household Financial Distress and the Burden of “Aggregate” Shocks," Working Papers 2019-025, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, revised 10 Sep 2020.
    2. Kyle F. Herkenhoff & Gajendran Raveendranathan, 2019. "Who Bears the Welfare Costs of Monopoly? The Case of the Credit Card Industry," Working Papers 2019-071, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    3. Kartik B. Athreya & Ryan Mather & Jose Mustre-del-Rio & Juan M. Sanchez, 2019. "Consumption in the Great Recession: The Financial Distress Channel," Working Paper 19-13, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, revised 29 Aug 2019.
    4. Olga Gorbachev & María José Luengo-Prado, 2019. "The Credit Card Debt Puzzle: The Role of Preferences, Credit Access Risk, and Financial Literacy," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 101(2), pages 294-309, May.
    5. Roth, Paula, 2020. "Inequality, Relative Deprivation and Financial Distress: Evidence from Swedish Register Data," Working Paper Series 1374, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    6. Kyle Dempsey & Felicia Ionescu, 2019. "Lending Standards and Consumption Insurance over the Business Cycle," 2019 Meeting Papers 1428, Society for Economic Dynamics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy

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