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Jel Classification:D14 

Report
Student Debt and Default: The Role of For-Profit Colleges

For-profit providers have become an important fixture of U.S. higher education markets. Students who attend for-profit institutions take on more educational debt and are more likely to default on their student loans than those attending similarly selective public schools. Because for-profits tend to serve students from more disadvantaged backgrounds, it is important to isolate the causal effect of for-profit enrollment on student debt and repayment outcomes as well as the educational and labor market mechanisms that drive any such effects. We approach this problem using a novel instrument ...
Staff Reports , Paper 811

Working Paper
Villains or Scapegoats? The Role of Subprime Borrowers in Driving the U.S. Housing Boom

An expansion in mortgage credit to subprime borrowers is widely believed to have been a principal driver of the 2002–2006 U.S. house price boom. By contrast, this paper documents a robust, negative correlation between the growth in the share of purchase mortgages to subprime borrowers and house price appreciation at the county-level during this time. Using two different instrumental variables approaches, we also establish causal evidence that house price appreciation lowered the share of purchase loans to subprime borrowers. Further analysis using micro-level credit bureau data shows that ...
Working Papers , Paper 2013

Discussion Paper
Exploring the use of anonymized consumer credit information to estimate economic conditions: an application of big data

The emergence of high-frequency administrative data and other big data offers an opportunity for improvements to economic forecasting models. This paper considers the potential advantages and limitations of using information contained in anonymized consumer credit reports for improving estimates of current and future economic conditions for various geographic areas and demographic markets. Aggregate consumer credit information is found to be correlated with macroeconomic variables such as gross domestic product, retail sales, and employment and can serve as leading indicators such that lagged ...
Consumer Finance Institute discussion papers , Paper 15-5

Working Paper
The credit card debt puzzle: the role of preferences, credit risk, and financial literacy

We use the 1979 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth to revisit what is termed the credit card debt puzzle: why consumers simultaneously co-hold high-interest credit card debt and low-interest assets that could be used to pay down this debt. This dataset contains unique information on intelligence, financial literacy, and preferences, while also providing a complete picture of households? balance sheets. Relative to individuals with no credit card debt but positive liquid assets, individuals in the puzzle group have higher discount rates, slightly lower financial literacy scores, and very ...
Working Papers , Paper 16-6

Report
How Consumers Get Cash: Evidence from a Diary Survey

Most research on payment instruments focuses on how consumers pay or spend their money using a wide variety of payment instruments including cash. This report focuses on the inverse of the question of spending, that is, how do consumers obtain cash? Data from the 2017 Diary of Consumer Payment Choice shows that, over a three-day period, about 21 percent of survey respondents get cash via various methods, such as getting cash from a family member or friend, using an ATM, getting cash back at retail, visiting a bank teller, etc. We find that consumers mostly get cash from family and friends, ...
Consumer Payments Research Data Reports , Paper 2019-1

Working Paper
Strategic Default Among Private Student Loan Debtors: Evidence from Bankruptcy Reform

Bankruptcy reform in 2005 restricted debtors? ability to discharge private student loan debt. The reform was motivated by the perceived incentive of some borrowers to file bankruptcy under Chapter 7 even if they had, or expected to have, sufficient income to service their debt. Using a national sample of credit bureau files, we examine whether private student loan borrowers distinctly adjusted their Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing behavior in response to the reform. We do not find evidence to indicate that the moral hazard associated with dischargeability appreciably affected the behavior of ...
Working Papers , Paper 17-38

Working Paper
End of the Line: Behavior of HELOC Borrowers Facing Payment Changes

An important question in the household finance literature is whether a change in required debt payments affects borrower behavior. One challenge in this literature has been identifying whether higher default rates observed after an increase in debt payments stem from the inability of borrowers to pay the higher amount, or the attrition of better borrowers in advance of the payment change. A related question is whether the higher default rate is a result of specific features of the debt product, or the type of borrower who chooses the product. We address both of these questions as they relate ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2015-73

Working Paper
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 ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2016-10

Working Paper
Important Factors Determining Fintech Loan Default: Evidence from the LendingClub Consumer Platform

This study examines key default determinants of fintech loans, using loan-level data from the LendingClub consumer platform during 2007–2018. We identify a robust set of contractual loan characteristics, borrower characteristics, and macroeconomic variables that are important in determining default. We find an important role of alternative data in determining loan default, even after controlling for the obvious risk characteristics and the local economic factors. The results are robust to different empirical approaches. We also find that homeownership and occupation are important factors in ...
Working Papers , Paper 20-15

Discussion Paper
The Housing Boom and the Decline in Mortgage Rates

During the pandemic, national home values and housing activity soared as mortgage rates declined to historic lows. Under the canonical “user cost” house price model, home values are held to be very sensitive to interest rates, especially at low interest rate levels. A calibration of this model can account for the house price boom with the observed decline in interest rates. But empirically, we find that home values are nowhere near as sensitive to interest rates as the user cost model predicts. This lower sensitivity is also found in prior economic research. Thus, the historical ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20210907

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