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Jel Classification:D1 

Discussion Paper
Is Health Insurance Good for Your Financial Health?

What is the purpose of health care? What is the purpose of health insurance? When people fall ill, they seek health care in order to get better. But insurance has a slightly different function: Its main role is not to protect our health per se, but to protect our finances. For most people, lifetime health expenditures are quite low. However, some people have enormous health costs owing to major illnesses or health conditions. And this is where health insurance comes in?its goal (like that of any other form of insurance) is to protect these individuals against large, and sometimes ruinous, ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20160606

Discussion Paper
Whither Mortgages?

Our most recent Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit showed that although total household debt has increased somewhat since 2012, that growth has been driven almost entirely by nonhousing debt?credit cards, auto loans and student loans. The largest category of household debt?mortgages?has been essentially flat since 2012, in spite of a substantial rise in housing prices over that period. In this post, we explore the sources of the sluggish growth in mortgage debt using our New York Fed Consumer Credit Panel, which is based on Equifax credit data.
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20160222

Discussion Paper
Forecasting Interest Rates over the Long Run

In a previous post, we showed how market rates on U.S. Treasuries violate the expectations hypothesis because of time-varying risk premia. In this post, we provide evidence that term structure models have outperformed direct market-based measures in forecasting interest rates. This suggests that term structure models can play a role in long-run planning for public policy objectives such as assessing the viability of Social Security.
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20160718

Working Paper
We Are All Behavioral, More or Less: Measuring and Using Consumer-Level Behavioral Sufficient Statistics

Can a behavioral sufficient statistic empirically capture cross-consumer variation in behavioral tendencies and help identify whether behavioral biases, taken together, are linked to material consumer welfare losses? Our answer is yes. We construct simple consumer-level behavioral sufficient statistics??B-counts??by eliciting seventeen potential sources of behavioral biases per person, in a nationally representative panel, in two separate rounds nearly three years apart. B-counts aggregate information on behavioral biases within-person. Nearly all consumers exhibit multiple biases, in ...
Working Papers , Paper 19-14

Discussion Paper
Just Released: Hints of Increased Hardship in America’s Oil-Producing Counties

Today, the New York Fed released the Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit for the first quarter of 2016. Overall debt saw one of its larger increases since deleveraging ended, while delinquency rates for the United States continued to improve and remain at very low levels. Although the overall picture of Americans? liabilities has continued to improve since the financial crisis, we wondered what the variation looks like at local levels. One advantage of our Consumer Credit Panel (CCP), which is based on Equifax credit data, is that we can examine geographic variation in debt and ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20160524

Discussion Paper
Piggy Banks

What do banks do? Ask an economist and you’ll get a variety of answers. Banks play a vital role in allocating capital by linking savers and borrowers; they produce information by screening and monitoring borrowers; they create liquidity; they share and distribute risk; they engage in maturity transformation by borrowing short and lending long. What you won’t usually hear is that banks may help people stick to an optimal savings plan that they might not be able to stick to if they invested their money themselves. In other words, banks may serve as piggy banks by preventing people from ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20130529

Discussion Paper
The Evolution of Home Equity Ownership

In yesterday’s post, we discussed the extreme swings that household leverage has taken since 2005, using combined loan-to-value (CLTV) ratios for housing as our metric. We also explored the risks that current household leverage presents in the event of a significant downturn in prices. Today we reverse the perspective, and consider housing equity—the value of housing net of all debt for which it serves as collateral. For the majority of households, housing equity is the principal form of wealth, other than human capital, and it thus represents an important form of potential collateral for ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20170214

Working Paper
The Long-Run Effects of Neighborhood Change on Incumbent Families

A number of prominent studies examine the long-run effects of neighborhood attributes on children by leveraging variation in neighborhood exposure through household moves. However, much neighborhood change comes in place rather than through moving. Using an urban economic geography model as a basis, this paper estimates the causal effects of changes in neighborhood attributes on long-run outcomes for incumbent children and households. For identification, we make use of quasi-random variation in 1990-2000 and 2000-2005 skill specific labor demand shocks hitting each residential metro area ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2019-2

Discussion Paper
The Effect of Fed Funds Rate Hikes on Consumer Borrowing Costs

The target federal funds rate has hovered around zero for nearly a decade, and observers are questioning what effect an increase could have on both the financial markets and the real economy. In this post, we examine the historical reaction of loan rates to target rate increases. Specifically, we examine the interest rates that banks offer on residential mortgages and home equity lines of credit (HELOCs).
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20151221

Discussion Paper
Diplomas to Doorsteps: Education, Student Debt, and Homeownership

Evidence overwhelmingly shows that the average earnings premium to having a college education is high and has risen over the past several decades, in part because of a decline in real average earnings for those without a college degree. In addition to high private returns, there are substantial social returns to having a well-educated citizenry and workforce. A new development that may have important longer-term implications for education investment and for the broader economy is a significant change in the financing of higher education. State funding has declined markedly over the past two ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20170403

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