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Why Has Consumption Been So Volatile in the New Millennium?
U.S. consumption has gone through steep ups and downs since the turn of the millennium, but the causes of these fluctuations are still imperfectly identified. We describe research that quantifies the relative impact of nine significant determinants of consumption growth. The explanatory power of these factors varies by period, implying that successful modelling of this decade poses many challenges
Keeping the house or moving for a job
Some reports have suggested that employers can?t fill job openings in some places because they can?t entice workers to move. Workers won?t move, so the story goes, when doing so will mean losing money on their homes, and this is the case for many homeowners since the housing crash. But new research shows that homeowners will move when they have a better job offer, even if they will lose money on their home when they sell it.
The Rise and Fall of Consumption in the 2000s
U.S. consumption has gone through steep ups and downs since the turn of the millennium, but the causes of these fluctuations are still imperfectly identified. We quantify the relative impact on consumption growth of income, unemployment, house prices, credit scores, debt, expectations, foreclosures, inequality, and refinancings for four subperiods: the ?dot-com recession? (2001-2003), the ?subprime boom? (2004-2006), the Great Recession (2007-2009), and the ?tepid recovery? (2010-2012). We document that the explanatory power of different factors varies by subperiods, implying that a ...
Moving to a job: The role of home equity, debt, and access to credit
Using credit report data from two of the three major credit bureaus in the United States, we infer with high certainty whether households move to other labor markets defined by metropolitan areas. We estimate how moving patterns relate to labor market conditions, personal credit, and homeownership using panel regressions with fixed effects which control for all constant individual-specific traits. We interpret the patterns through simulations of a dynamic model of consumption, housing, and location choice. We find that homeowners with negative home equity move more than other homeowners, in ...
House prices and risk sharing
We show that homeowners are able to maintain a high level of consumption following job loss or disability in periods of rising house values. However, the consumption drop for consumers who simultaneously lose their job and equity in their houses is substantial. Using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, we verify that homeowners smooth consumption more than renters, and that consumption smoothing improves when houses appreciate in the area of residence. We calibrate and simulate a model of endogenous homeownership and home-equity loans, and show that the model is able to reproduce ...
The rise and fall of consumption in the '00s
The major portion of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) is accounted for by consumer spending, which significantly affects the business cycle. Consumer demand has been extremely volatile since 2000, especially given the booms and busts in housing values and in subprime mortgage lending. While it is well-established that housing net worth, credit availability, and household debt levels help to explain changes in consumer spending, the roles played by other potential determinants of consumption are not well identified or understood. This paper uses county-level data and a multiple-regression ...
Moving to a new job: the role of home equity, debt, and access to credit
The severe decline in house prices during and after the Great Recession may have hampered adjustment in U.S. labor markets by limiting mobility of unemployed workers. Mobility will suffer if unemployed workers are reluctant to leave homes that, with debt exceeding value, cannot be disposed of without injecting cash or defaulting?a pattern referred to as "housing lock-in." If such reluctance keeps workers from moving from depressed areas to areas with available jobs, the Beveridge curve, which depicts the relationship between vacancies and joblessness, may shift outward. To examine whether ...