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A model of credit limits and bankruptcy with applications to welfare and indebtedness

  • Mateos-Planas, Xavier

This paper presents a macroeconomic model of unsecured consumer debt and default where credit conditions consist of pre-approved interest rates and borrowing limits, a feature of actual credit cards. All loans, irrespective of their size and risk, take place against the same type of credit line, and some borrowers are credit constrained. This type of situation is shown to arise in a free-entry competitive equilibrium if there are fixed costs in banking and the banks' decisions on interest rates and on credit limits are made separately. Numerical experiments are conducted to study, on one hand, the macroeconomic and welfare effects of the consumer bankruptcy code, and on the other hand, the consequences of various factors for both indebtedness and bankruptcy. Restricting bankruptcy filings - be it through a stricter Chapter 7 means testing or a longer period of credit exclusion - leads to sizable welfare loses. The recent rise in filing rates and debt is best explained by a combination of lower intermediation costs and more severe non-discretionary expenditures shocks. The endogenous response ofthe credit limit proves to be crucial for these findings Keywords; bankruptcy, unsecured credit, general equilibrium, default risk, credit limits

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File URL: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/71048/1/0910.pdf
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Paper provided by Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton in its series Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics with number 0910.

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Date of creation: 01 Jan 2009
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Handle: RePEc:stn:sotoec:0910
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  1. S. Rao Aiyagari, 1993. "Uninsured idiosyncratic risk and aggregate saving," Working Papers 502, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  2. Jappelli, Tullio, 1990. "Who Is Credit Constrained in the U.S. Economy?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(1), pages 219-34, February.
  3. Wendy Edelberg, 2003. "Risk-based pricing of interest rates in household loan markets," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2003-62, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  4. Igor Livshits & James MacGee & Michele Tertilt, 2003. "Consumer bankruptcy: a fresh start," Working Papers 617, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  5. Igor Livshits & James MacGee & Michele Tertilt, 2006. "Accounting for the Rise in Consumer Bankruptcies," Discussion Papers 06-001, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  6. Lucia Dunn & TaeHyung Kim, 1999. "Empirical Investigation of Credit Card Default," Working Papers 99-13, Ohio State University, Department of Economics.
  7. 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.
  8. Cox, Donald & Jappelli, Tullio, 1993. "The Effect of Borrowing Constraints on Consumer Liabilities," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 25(2), pages 197-213, May.
  9. Pradeep Dubey & John Geanakoplos & Martin Shubik, 2001. "Default and Punishment in General Equilibrium," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1304R5, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University, revised Mar 2004.
  10. Mateos-Planas, Xavier & Seccia, Giulio, 2006. "Welfare implications of endogenous credit limits with bankruptcy," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 30(11), pages 2081-2115, November.
  11. Athreya, Kartik B. & Simpson, Nicole B., 2006. "Unsecured debt with public insurance: From bad to worse," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(4), pages 797-825, May.
  12. Lucia Dunn & Tufan Ekici, 2006. "Credit Card Debt and Consumption: Evidence from Household-Level Data," Working Papers 06-01, Ohio State University, Department of Economics.
  13. Ian Domowitz & Robert L. Sartain, 1999. "Determinants of the Consumer Bankruptcy Decision," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 54(1), pages 403-420, 02.
  14. 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).
  15. David B. Gross & Nicholas S. Souleles, 2002. "Do Liquidity Constraints And Interest Rates Matter For Consumer Behavior? Evidence From Credit Card Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(1), pages 149-185, February.
  16. Wenli Li & Pierre-Daniel Sarte, 2003. "The macroeconomics of U.S. consumer bankruptcy choice: Chapter 7 or Chapter 13?," Working Papers 03-14, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  17. Huggett, Mark, 1993. "The risk-free rate in heterogeneous-agent incomplete-insurance economies," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 17(5-6), pages 953-969.
  18. 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.
  19. Sougata Kerr & Lucia Dunn & Stephen Cosslett, 2004. "Do Banks Use Private Information from Consumer Accounts? Evidence of Relationship Lending in Credit Card Interest Rate Heterogeneity," Working Papers 04-08, Ohio State University, Department of Economics.
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