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Can the Unemployed Borrow? Implications for Public Insurance

Author

Listed:
  • J. Carter Braxton

    (University of Minnesota)

  • Gordon Phillips

    (Dartmouth College)

  • Kyle Herkenhoff

    (University of Minnesota)

Abstract

We show that unemployed individuals maintain significant access to credit. Following job loss, the unconstrained borrow, while the constrained default and delever. Both defaulters and borrowers are using credit to smooth consumption. We quantitatively show that credit-registries and long-term credit relationships allow the unemployed to partially offset income losses using credit, despite various forms of adverse selection. We estimate the model and find that the optimal provision of public insurance is unambiguously lower as credit access expands. The median individual in our simulated economy would gain both in steady-state as well as during the transition if the income replacement rate from public insurance programs is lowered from the current US policy of 41.2% to 39.8%.

Suggested Citation

  • J. Carter Braxton & Gordon Phillips & Kyle Herkenhoff, 2019. "Can the Unemployed Borrow? Implications for Public Insurance," 2019 Meeting Papers 323, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed019:323
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Can the Unemployed Borrow? Implications for Public Insurance
      by Christian Zimmermann in NEP-DGE blog on 2018-09-28 09:37:30
    2. How Does Credit Access Affect Job-Search Outcomes and Sorting?
      by Blog Author in Liberty Street Economics on 2020-03-04 12:45:00

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kyle Herkenhoff, 2014. "The Impact of Consumer Credit Access on Unemployment," 2014 Meeting Papers 448, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    2. Serdar Birinci & Kurt Gerrard See, 2018. "How Should Unemployment Insurance vary over the Business Cycle?," 2018 Meeting Papers 69, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    3. Gajendran Raveendranathan & Georgios Stefanidis, 2020. "The Unprecedented Fall in U.S. Revolving Credit," Department of Economics Working Papers 2020-05, McMaster University.
    4. 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.
    5. Rene Chalom & Benjamin Pugsley & Fatih Karahan & Kurt Mitman, 2019. "Liquidity Effects of Unemployment Insurance Benefit Extensions: Evidence from Consumer Credit Data," 2019 Meeting Papers 438, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    6. Sean Hundtofte & Arna Olafsson & Michaela Pagel, 2019. "Credit Smoothing," NBER Working Papers 26354, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • G51 - Financial Economics - - Household Finance - - - Household Savings, Borrowing, Debt, and Wealth
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

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