Improving survey measures of household inflation expectations
Expectations about future inflation are generally thought to play an important role in households? decisions about spending and saving. They are also of great interest to central bankers, who take them into account when determining policy or assessing the effectiveness of communications with the public. To help improve existing survey measures of inflation expectations, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York recently joined with other institutions and academic consultants to develop a set of survey questions that will yield more reliable information on households? inflation expectations, ...
The financial crisis at the kitchen table: trends in household debt and credit
Since the onset of the financial crisis, households have reduced their outstanding debt by about $1.3 trillion. While part of this reduction stemmed from a historic increase in consumer defaults and lender charge-offs, particularly on mortgage debt, other factors were also at play. An analysis of the New York Fed?s Consumer Credit Panel?a rich new data set on individual credit accounts?reveals that households actively reduced their obligations during this period by paying down their current debts and reducing new borrowing. These household choices, along with banks? stricter lending ...
An overview of the Survey of Consumer Expectations
The authors present an overview of the New York Fed?s Survey of Consumer Expectations, a monthly online survey of a rotating panel of household heads. The survey collects timely information on respondents? expectations and decisions on a broad variety of topics, including inflation, household finance, the labor market, and the housing market. It has three main goals: (1) measuring consumer expectations at a high frequency, (2) understanding how these expectations are formed, and (3) investigating the link between expectations and behavior. The authors discuss the origins of the survey, the ...
Do we know what we owe? Consumer debt as reported by borrowers and lenders
Household surveys are the source of some of the most widely studied data on consumer balance sheets, with the Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF) generally cited as the leading source of wealth data for the United States. At the same time, recent research questions survey respondents? propensity and ability to report debt characteristics accurately. This study compares household debt as reported by borrowers to the SCF with household debt as reported by lenders to Equifax using the new FRBNY Consumer Credit Panel (CCP). The borrower and lender debt distributions are compared by year, age of ...
Understanding the Evolution of Student Loan Balances and Repayment Behavior: Do Institution Type and Degree Matter?
Student loan balances and delinquency rates have soared to unprecedented levels in recent years, forming what many commentators have termed a “student loan bubble” and creating a major public policy issue. Given the importance of student loans for human capital formation and economic growth, understanding student loans and repayment behavior is essential from a policy perspective. Yet research in this area has been limited. The authors seek to fill the gap by examining student loan performance over time by institution type and degree program. Using detailed data collected as part of ...
Have Consumers Been Deleveraging?
Since its peak in summer 2008, U.S. consumers? indebtedness has fallen by more than a trillion dollars. Over roughly the same period, charge-offs?the removal of obligations from consumers? credit reports because of defaults?have risen sharply, especially on loans secured by houses, which make up about 80 percent of consumer liabilities. An important question for gauging the behavior of U.S. consumers is how to interpret these two trends. Is the reduction in debts entirely attributable to defaults, or are consumers actively reducing their debts? In this post, we demonstrate that a significant ...
Have Consumers Been Deleveraging?
Since its peak in summer 2008, U.S. consumers’ indebtedness has fallen by more than a trillion dollars. Over roughly the same period, charge-offs—the removal of obligations from consumers’ credit reports because of defaults—have risen sharply, especially on loans secured by houses, which make up about 80 percent of consumer liabilities. An important question for gauging the behavior of U.S. consumers is how to interpret these two trends. Is the reduction in debts entirely attributable to defaults, or are consumers actively reducing their debts? In this post, we demonstrate that a ...
What Is Driving the Recent Rise in Consumer Inflation Expectations?
The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Survey of Consumers (the “Michigan Survey” hereafter) is the main source of information regarding consumers’ expectations of future inflation in the United States. The most recent release of the Michigan Survey on March 25 drew considerable attention because it showed a large spike in year-ahead expectations for inflation: as shown in the chart below, the median rose from 3.4 to 4.6 percent and the other quartiles of responses showed similar increases. What may have caused this rise in inflation expectations and what lessons should be taken ...
Just Released: Household Debt and Credit Developments in the Nation and the Region in 2011:Q1
This post gives our summary of the 2011:Q1 Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit, released today by the New York Fed. The report shows signs of healing in household balance sheets in the United States and the region, as measured by consumer debt levels, delinquency rates, foreclosure starts, and bankruptcies— although the regional data are somewhat mixed. The report captures the debt and credit activity of an anonymous, nationally representative panel of U.S. households.
Inflation Expectations and Behavior: Do Survey Respondents Act on Their Beliefs?
Surveys of consumers’ inflation expectations are now a key component of monetary policy. To date, however, little work has been done on 1) whether individual consumers act on their beliefs about future inflation, and 2) whether the inflation expectations elicited by these surveys are actually informative about the respondents’ beliefs. In this post, we report on a new study by Armantier, Bruine de Bruin, Topa, van der Klaauw, and Zafar (2010) that investigates these two issues by comparing consumers’ survey-based inflation expectations with their behavior in a financially incentivized ...