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Rational but Not Prescient: Borrowing during the Fracking Boom
To study how income expectations affect borrowing, we use leased natural gas rights in Texas in the mid-2000s, which created potential for future leaseholder income without loosening credit constraints. In matching 11,000 leaseholders with non-leaseholders selected from a screened pool of 5.2 million, we find that the average leaseholder borrowed $13,000 more over the 2003–08 leasing boom. A consumption-smoothing modelindicates that leaseholders’ income expectations aligned with forecasts of persistently high natural gas prices. Yet, the unforeseeable success of fracking was associated ...