Debt Revolvers for Self Control
By 1998, about two-thirds of U.S. households held a bank-type credit card. Despite high interest rates, most revolve credit card debt. The majority of debt revolvers have substantial liquid assets, apparently violating arbitrage. We propose an "accountant-shopper" model that could provide an explanation for this puzzle. In our model, the "accountant self" (or spouse) of the household can control the expenditures of the "shopper self" (or spouse) by limiting the purchases the shopper can make before encountering the credit limit. Since the card balance is used for control purposes, the accountant self may also find it optimal to save in lower-return riskless assets. Using attitudinal responses and demographic data from the pooled 1995 and 1998 Surveys of Consumer Finances, we estimate a bivariate probit model of the decisions to have a credit card and to revolve debt on it, allowing for sample selection. The pattern of estimated coefficients is consistent with debt revolvers being motivated primarily by self-control considerations rather than intertemporal consumption smoothing.
|Date of creation:||May 2001|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://www.econ.ucy.ac.cy|
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Hoch, Stephen J & Loewenstein, George F, 1991. " Time-Inconsistent Preferences and Consumer Self-Control," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(4), pages 492-507, March.
- Dilip Soman & Amar Cheema, 2002. "The Effect of Credit on Spending Decisions: The Role of the Credit Limit and Credibility," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 21(1), pages 32-53, September.
- David Laibson & Andrea Repetto & Jeremy Tobacman, 2000.
"A Debt Puzzle,"
NBER Working Papers
7879, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Brito, Dagobert L & Hartley, Peter R, 1995. "Consumer Rationality and Credit Cards," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(2), pages 400-433, April.
- Sydney Ludvigson, 1996.
"Consumption and credit: a model of time-varying liquidity constraints,"
9624, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
- Sydney Ludvigson, 1999. "Consumption And Credit: A Model Of Time-Varying Liquidity Constraints," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(3), pages 434-447, August.
- Carol Bertaut & Martha Starr-McCluer, 2000. "Household portfolios in the United States," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2000-26, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
- 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.
- Shefrin, Hersh M & Thaler, Richard H, 1988. "The Behavioral Life-Cycle Hypothesis," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 26(4), pages 609-43, October.
- Thaler, Richard H & Shefrin, H M, 1981.
"An Economic Theory of Self-Control,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(2), pages 392-406, April.
- David B. Gross & Nicholas S. Souleles, 2001.
"Do Liquidity Constraints and Interest Rates Matter for Consumer Behavior? Evidence from Credit Card Data,"
NBER Working Papers
8314, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- 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.
- Guiso, Luigi & Jappelli, Tullio, 2000.
"Household Portfolios in Italy,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
2549, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Thomas A. Durkin, 2002. "Consumers and credit disclosures: credit cards and credit insurance," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Apr, pages 201-213.
- Haliassos, Michael & Bertaut, Carol C, 1995. "Why Do So Few Hold Stocks?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(432), pages 1110-29, September.
- Andreas Lehnert & Dean M. Maki, 2002. "Consumption, debt and portfolio choice: testing the effect of bankruptcy law," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2002-14, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
- Thomas A. Durkin, 2000. "Credit cards: use and consumer attitudes, 1970-2000," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Sep, pages 623-634.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ucy:cypeua:0208. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.