Introducing the Distributional Financial Accounts of the United States
This paper describes the construction of the Distributional Financial Accounts (DFAs), a new dataset containing quarterly estimates of the distribution of U.S. household wealth since 1989, and provides the first look at the resulting data. The DFAs build on two existing Federal Reserve Board statistical products --- quarterly aggregate measures of household wealth from the Financial Accounts of the United States and triennial wealth distribution measures from the Survey of Consumer Finances --- to incorporate distributional information into a national accounting framework. The DFAs complement ...
Student Loans and Homeownership Trends
The increases in student loan debt and delinquencies over the past few years have raised concerns about whether heavy student loan debt burdens are making it more difficult for young households to become homeowners.
Student Loan Debt and Aggregate Consumption Growth
Although student debt service is undoubtedly a source of severe financial strain for some individuals, in this discussion we show that the direct effect of increased student debt service on aggregate consumption growth is likely small.
A Historical Welfare Analysis of Social Security: Whom Did the Program Benefit?
A well-established result in the literature is that Social Security tends to reduce steady state welfare in a standard life cycle model. However, less is known about the historical effects of the program on agents who were alive when the program was adopted. In a computational life cycle model that simulates the Great Depression and the enactment of Social Security, this paper quantifies the welfare effects of the program's enactment on the cohorts of agents who experienced it. In contrast to the standard steady state results, we find that the adoption of the original Social Security tended ...
How Well Did Social Security Mitigate the Effects of the Great Recession?
This paper quantifies the welfare implications of the U.S. Social Security program during the Great Recession. We find that the average welfare losses due to the Great Recession for agents alive at the time of the shock are notably smaller in an economy with Social Security relative to an economy without a Social Security program. Moreover, Social Security is particularly effective at mitigating the welfare losses for agents who are poorer, less productive, or older at the time of the shock. Importantly, in addition to mitigating the welfare losses for these potentially more vulnerable ...
Student Loans and Homeownership
We estimate the effect of student loan debt on subsequent homeownership in a uniquely constructed administrative dataset for a nationally representative cohort. We instrument for the amount of individual student debt using changes to the in-state tuition rate at public 4-year colleges in the student's home state. A $1,000 increase in student loan debt lowers the homeownership rate by about 1.5 percentage points for public 4-year college-goers during their mid 20s, equivalent to an average delay of 2.5 months in attaining homeownership. Validity tests suggest that the results are not ...
A Trillion Dollar Question: What Predicts Student Loan Delinquencies?
The recent significant increase in student loan delinquencies has generated interest in understanding the key factors predicting the non-performance of these loans. However, despite the large size of the student loan market, existing analyses have been limited by data. This paper studies predictors of student loan delinquencies using a nationally representative panel dataset that anonymously combines individual credit bureau records with Pell Grant and Federal student loan recipient information, records on college enrollment, graduation and major, and school characteristics. We show that ...
Fertility Choice in a Life Cycle Model with Idiosyncratic Uninsurable Earnings Risk
This paper studies the link between rising income uncertainty and household fertility patterns in an Aiyagari-Bewley-Huggett framework augmented to include fertility decisions and infertility risk. Building on Becker and Tomes (1976), I model fertility decisions as sequential, irreversible choices over the number of children, accompanied by parental choices of time and money invested toward improving children's quality. The calibrated model is used to quantify the contribution of earnings uncertainty to the changes in the key fertility indicators between steady states. I show that realistic ...
Measuring Aggregate Housing Wealth : New Insights from an Automated Valuation Model
We construct a new measure of aggregate U.S. housing wealth based on Zillow?s Automated Valuation Model (AVM). AVMs offer advantages over other methods because they are based on recent market transaction prices, utilize large datasets which include property characteristics and local geographic variables, and are updated frequently with little lag. However, using Zillow?s AVM to measure aggregate housing wealth requires overcoming several challenges related to the representativeness of the Zillow sample. We propose methods that address these challenges and generate a new estimate of aggregate ...
A Trillion Dollar Question : What Predicts Student Loan Delinquency Risk?
Over the past ten years, the real amount of student debt owed by American households more than doubled, from about $450 billion to more than $1.1 trillion. As a result of this increase, in 2010 student loan debt surpassed credit card debt as the largest class of non-housing consumer debt.