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Household Debt and Crises of Confidence

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  • Hintermaier, Thomas

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  • Koeniger, Winfried

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Abstract

We show that the size of collateralized household debt determines an economy's vulnerability to crises of confidence. The house price feeds back on itself by contributing to a liquidity effect, which operates through the value of housing in a collateral constraint. Over a specific range of debt levels this liquidity feedback effect is strong enough to give rise to multiplicity of house prices. In a dynamic setup, we conceptualize confidence as a realization of rationally entertainable belief-weightings of multiple future prices. This delivers debt-level-dependent bounds on the extent to which confidence may drive house prices and aggregate consumption.

Suggested Citation

  • Hintermaier, Thomas & Koeniger, Winfried, 2015. "Household Debt and Crises of Confidence," Economics Working Paper Series 1518, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.
  • Handle: RePEc:usg:econwp:2015:18
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Household debt; Consumer confidence; Collateral constraints; Multiple equilibria;

    JEL classification:

    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making

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