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Author:Livshits, Igor 

Working Paper
Building Credit History with Heterogeneously Informed Lenders

This paper examines a novel mechanism of credit-history building as a way of aggregating information across multiple lenders. We build a dynamic model with multiple competing lenders, who have heterogeneous private information about a consumer's creditworthiness, and extend credit over multiple stages. Acquiring a loan at an early stage serves as a positive signal | it allows the borrower to convey to other lenders the existence of a positively informed lender (advancing that early loan) | thereby convincing other lenders to extend further credit in future stages. This signaling may be costly ...
Working Papers , Paper 19-17

Journal Article
Regulating Consumer Credit and Protecting (Behavioral) Borrowers

Public policy debate around consumer credit has focused on consumer protection. But from whom are we protecting these borrowers?
Economic Insights , Volume 5 , Issue 1 , Pages 14-19

Journal Article
Meet the New Borrowers

Credit history is critical for credit access, and it’s more than just a history of repayment.
Economic Insights , Volume 7 , Issue 1 , Pages 9-16

Working Paper
Democratic Political Economy of Financial Regulation

This paper offers a simple theory of inefficiently lax financial regulation arising as an outcome of a democratic political process. Lax financial regulation encourages some banks to issue risky residential mortgages. In the event of an adverse aggregate housing shock, these banks fail. When banks do not fully internalize the losses from such failure (due to limited liability), they offer mortgages at less than actuarially fair interest rates. This opens the door to homeownership for young, low net-worth individuals. In turn, the additional demand from these new homebuyers drives up house ...
Working Papers , Paper 22-01

Working Paper
Consumer Credit with Over-Optimistic Borrowers

Do cognitive biases call for regulation to limit the use of credit? We incorporate over-optimistic and rational borrowers into an incomplete markets model with consumer bankruptcy. Over-optimists face worse income risk but incorrectly believe they are rational. Thus, both types behave identically. Lenders price loans forming beliefs—type scores—about borrower types. This gives rise to a tractable theory of type scoring. As lenders cannot screen types, borrowers are partially pooled. Over-optimists face cross subsidized interest rates but make financial mistakes: borrowing too much and ...
Working Papers , Paper 21-42

Working Paper
Consumer bankruptcy: a fresh start

American consumer bankruptcy provides for a Fresh Start through the discharge of a household?s debt. Until recently, many European countries specified a No Fresh Start policy of life-long liability for debt. The trade-off between these two policies is that while Fresh Start provides insurance across states, it drives up interest rates and thereby makes life-cycle smoothing more difficult. This paper quantitatively compares these bankruptcy rules using a life-cycle model with incomplete markets calibrated to the U.S. and Germany. A key innovation is that households face idiosyncratic ...
Working Papers , Paper 617

Working Paper
Banking Regulation with Risk of Sovereign Default

Banking regulation routinely designates some assets as safe and thus does not require banks to hold any additional capital to protect against losses from these assets. A typical such safe asset is domestic government debt. There are numerous examples of banking regulation treating domestic government bonds as ?safe,? even when there is clear risk of default on these bonds. We show, in a parsimonious model, that this failure to recognize the riskiness of government debt allows (and induces) domestic banks to ?gamble? with depositors? funds by purchasing risky government bonds (and assets ...
Working Papers , Paper 19-15

Working Paper
Greed as a Source of Polarization

The political process in the United States appears to be highly polarized: evidence from voting patterns finds that the political positions of legislators have diverged substantially, while the largest campaign contributions come from the most extreme lobby groups and are directed to the most extreme candidates. Is the rise in campaign contributions the cause of the growing polarity of political views? In this paper, we show that, in standard models of lobbying and electoral competition, a free-rider problem amongst potential contributors leads naturally to a divergence in campaign ...
Working Papers , Paper 18-1

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