Credit Access, the Costs of Credit and Credit Market Discrimination
Since the early 1990s, credit expanded relative to income, especially after 2001. It is hypothesized that traditionally uneven credit access and gaps in the costs of credit by demographic characteristics shrank during this period. Relying on data from the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finance, this study looks at financial constraints, the costs of credit and a number of contributions to the costs of credit, including sources and types of loans. The results indicate that taste-based discrimination and structural discrimination may have persisted and possibly increased over time. Gaps in credit access and costs of credit have widened by race, remained high by income, but shrank by ethnicity. Part of the overall differences in credit access was a varying reliance on professional information when making decisions on debt.
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