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Households’ Indebtedness and Financial Fragility

The paper studies the determinants of international differences in household indebtedness, and inquires whether indebtedness is associated with increased “financial fragility”, as measured by the sensitivity of household arrears and insolvencies to macroeconomic shocks. It also investigates whether financial fragility is affected by institutional factors, such as information sharing arrangements, judicial efficiency and individual bankruptcy regulation. We address these issues by tapping three data sets: (i) cross-country data on household indebtedness; (ii) European panel data for households lending and arrears; and (iii) time series data for household lending and insolvencies in the U.K., the U.S.A. and Germany. Overall, the analysis underscores the importance of institutional arrangements in determining the size and fragility of household credit markets.

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File URL: http://www.csef.it/WP/wp208.pdf
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Paper provided by Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy in its series CSEF Working Papers with number 208.

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Date of creation: 15 Oct 2008
Date of revision: 09 Sep 2010
Publication status: Published in Journal of Financial Management Markets and Institutions, vol. 1, n. 1, 23-46, 2013.
Handle: RePEc:sef:csefwp:208
Contact details of provider: Postal: I-80126 Napoli
Phone: +39 081 - 675372
Fax: +39 081 - 675372
Web page: http://www.csef.it/Email:


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  1. Martin Brown & Christian Zehnder, 2007. "The Emergence of Information Sharing in Credit Markets," IEW - Working Papers 317, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  2. Rafael LaPorta & Florencio Lopez de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1997. "Legal Determinants of External Finance," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1788, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  3. James Banks & Richard Blundell & James P. Smith, 2003. "Understanding Differences in Household Financial Wealth between the United States and Great Britain," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 38(2).
  4. Martin Brown & Tullio Jappelli & Marco Pagano, 2007. "Information Sharing and Credit: Firm-Level Evidence from Transition Countries," Working Papers 2007-15, Swiss National Bank.
  5. Astrid A. Dick & Andreas Lehnert, 2010. "Personal Bankruptcy and Credit Market Competition," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 65(2), pages 655-686, 04.
  6. David B. Gross & Nicholas S. Souleles, 2001. "An Empirical Analysis of Personal Bankruptcy and Delinquency," NBER Working Papers 8409, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. James Banks & Richard Blundell & James P. Smith, 2000. "Wealth inequality in the United States and Great Britain," IFS Working Papers W00/20, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  8. DellAriccia, Giovanni & Igan, Deniz & Laeven, Luc, 2008. "Credit Booms and Lending Standards: Evidence From The Subprime Mortgage Market," CEPR Discussion Papers 6683, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Rafael LaPorta & Florencio Lopez de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1996. "Law and Finance," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1768, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    • La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W., 1998. "Law and Finance," Scholarly Articles 3451310, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    • Rafael LaPorta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, . "Law and Finance," Working Paper 19451, Harvard University OpenScholar.
    • Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silane & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1996. "Law and Finance," NBER Working Papers 5661, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Atif Mian & Amir Sufi, 2008. "The Consequences of Mortgage Credit Expansion: Evidence from the 2007 Mortgage Default Crisis," NBER Working Papers 13936, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Reint Gropp & John Karl Scholz & Michelle White, 1996. "Personal Bankruptcy and Credit Supply and Demand," NBER Working Papers 5653, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Deininger, Klaus & Squire, Lyn, 1996. "A New Data Set Measuring Income Inequality," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 10(3), pages 565-91, September.
  13. Inessa Love & Nataliya Mylenko, 2003. "Credit reporting and financing constraints," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3142, The World Bank.
  14. Petersen, Mitchell A & Rajan, Raghuram G, 1995. "The Effect of Credit Market Competition on Lending Relationships," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(2), pages 407-43, May.
  15. Emilio Fernandez-Corugedo & John Muellbauer, 2006. "Consumer credit conditions in the United Kingdom," Bank of England working papers 314, Bank of England.
  16. Jappelli, Tullio & Pagano, Marco, 1999. "Information Sharing, Lending and Defaults: Cross-Country Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 2184, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. Poterba, James M & Venti, Steven F & Wise, David A, 1994. "Targeted Retirement Saving and the Net Worth of Elderly Americans," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 180-85, May.
  18. Fabbri, Daniela & Padula, Mario, 2004. "Does poor legal enforcement make households credit-constrained?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 28(10), pages 2369-2397, October.
  19. Michael Hurd & Arie Kapteyn, 2003. "Health, Wealth, and the Role of Institutions," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 38(2).
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