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Which Households Have Negative Wealth?
At some point in its life a household’s total debt may exceed its total assets, in which case it has “negative wealth.” Even if this status is temporary, it may affect the household’s ability to save for durable goods, restrict access to further credit, and may require living in a state of limited consumption. Detailed analysis of the holdings of negative-wealth households, however, is a topic that has received little attention. In particular, relatively little is known about the characteristics of such households or about what drives negative wealth. A better understanding of these ...
Home price expectations and behavior: evidence from a randomized information experiment
Home price expectations are believed to play an important role in housing dynamics, yet we have limited understanding of how they are formed and how they affect behavior. Using a unique ?information experiment? embedded in an online survey, this paper investigates how consumers? home price expectations respond to past home price growth and how they impact investment decisions. After eliciting respondents? initial beliefs about past and future local home price changes, we present a random subset of the respondents with factual information about past (one- or five-year) changes and then ...
Student Debt and Default: The Role of For-Profit Colleges
For-profit providers have become an important fixture of U.S. higher education markets. Students who attend for-profit institutions take on more educational debt and are more likely to default on their student loans than those attending similarly selective public schools. Because for-profits tend to serve students from more disadvantaged backgrounds, it is important to isolate the causal effect of for-profit enrollment on student debt and repayment outcomes as well as the educational and labor market mechanisms that drive any such effects. We approach this problem using a novel instrument ...
Searching for Higher Wages
Since the peak of the recession, the unemployment rate has fallen by almost 5 percentage points, and observers continue to focus on whether and when this decline will lead to robust wage growth. Typically, in the wake of such a decline, real wages grow since there is more competition for workers among potential employers. While this relationship has historically been quite informative, real wage growth more recently has not been commensurate with observed declines in the unemployment rate.