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Author:Tam, Xuan S. 

Working Paper
A quantitative theory of information and unsecured credit

Over the past three decades five striking features of aggregates in the unsecured credit market have been documented: (1) rising availability of credit along both the intensive and extensive margins, (2) rising debt accumulation, (3) rising bankruptcy rates and discharge in bankruptcy, (4) rising dispersion in interest rates across households, and (5) the emergence of a discount for borrowers with good credit ratings. We show that all five outcomes are quantitatively consistent with improvements in the ability of lenders to observe borrower characteristics. Part of our contribution is the ...
Working Paper , Paper 08-06

Working Paper
Labor market upheaval, default regulations, and consumer debt

In 2005, bankruptcy laws were reformed significantly, making personal bankruptcy substantially more costly to file than before. Shortly after, the US began to experience its most severe recession in seventy years. While personal bankruptcy rates rose, they rose only modestly given the severity of the rise in unemployment, perhaps as a consequence of the reform. Moreover, in the subsequent recovery, households have been widely viewed as ?develeraging? (Mian and Sufi (2011), Krugman and Eggertson (2012)), an interpretation consistent with the largest reduction in the volume of unsecured debt in ...
Working Papers , Paper 2014-2

Journal Article
Loan Guarantees for Consumer Credit Markets

A significant share of U.S. households appears strongly affected by credit constraints. These households typically lack pledgable collateral, making unsecured credit markets essential for their consumption-smoothing efforts in the face of life-cycle income variation and uninsurable risk. Recent work suggests, however, that these markets are significantly affected by limited-commitment and private-information frictions. In this article, we study the potential for guarantees on consumer loans to improve allocations in unsecured credit markets. Loan guarantees are already among the most widely ...
Economic Quarterly , Issue 4Q , Pages 297-352

Working Paper
The Stock Market Response to a "Regulatory Sine Curve"

We construct new indicators of financial regulatory intensity and find evidence that a "regulatory sine curve" generally exists: regulatory oversight increases following a recession and wanes as the economy returns to normalcy. We then build an asset pricing model, based on the idea that regulatory oversight both deters incentives to commit fraud ex ante and reveals hidden negative information ex post. Our calibration suggests that these mechanisms can be quantitatively important for stock price dynamics.
International Finance Discussion Papers , Paper 1299

Working Paper
Loan guarantees for consumer credit markets

Loan guarantees are arguably the most widely used policy intervention in credit markets, especially for consumers. This may be natural, as they have several features that, a priori, suggest that they might be particularly effective in improving allocations. However, despite this, little is actually known about the size of their effects on prices, allocations, and welfare. ; In this paper, we provide a quantitative assessment of loan guarantees, in the context of unsecured consumption loans. Our work is novel as it studies loan guarantees in a rich dynamic model where credit allocation is ...
Working Paper , Paper 11-06

Working Paper
Bankruptcy and delinquency in a model of unsecured debt

This paper documents and interprets two facts central to the dynamics of informal default or ?delinquency? on unsecured consumer debt. First, delinquency does not mean a persistent cessation of payment. In particular, we observe that for individuals 60 to 90 days late on payments, 85% make payments during the next quarter that allow them to avoid entering more severe delinquency. Second, many in delinquency (40%) have smaller debt obligations one quarter later. To understand these facts, we develop a theoretically and institutionally plausible model of debt delinquency and bankruptcy. Our ...
Working Papers , Paper 2012-042

Working Paper
Bankruptcy and Delinquency in a Model of Unsecured Debt

This paper documents and interprets two facts central to the dynamics of informal default or "delinquency" on unsecured consumer debt. First, delinquency does not mean a persistent cessation of payment. In particular, we observe that for individuals 60 to 90 days late on payments, 85% make payments during the next quarter that allow them to avoid entering more severe delinquency. Second, many in delinquency (40%) have smaller debt obligations one quarter later. To understand these facts, we develop a theoretically and institutionally plausible model of debt delinquency and bankruptcy. Our ...
Working Paper , Paper 16-12

Working Paper
Are harsh penalties for default really better?

How might society ensure the allocation of credit to those who lack meaningful collateral? Two very different options that have each been pursued by a variety of societies through time and space are (i) relatively harsh penalties for default and, more recently, (ii) loan guarantee programs that allow borrowers to default subject to moderate consequences and use public funds to compensate lenders. The goal of this paper is to provide a quantitative statement about the relative desirability of these responses. Our findings are twofold. First, we show that under a wide array of circumstances, ...
Working Paper , Paper 09-11

Journal Article
Debt default and the insurance of labor income risks

In this article, we evaluate in detail the role of debt forgiveness in altering the transmission of labor income risk in the absence of catastrophic out-of-pocket "expense shocks" used in the literature on consumer default. The experiments we present can be thought of as: "If we insure the out-of-pocket expenses that constitute expenditure shocks, is there still a role of debt relief as a form of insurance against 'pure labor income risk'?" We address this question by studying a range of specifications for households' attitudes toward the intra- and intertemporal properties of income ...
Economic Quarterly , Volume 98 , Issue 4Q , Pages 255-307

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