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How Risky Are Young Borrowers?
Young borrowers are conventionally considered the most prone to making financial mistakes. This has spurred efforts to limit their access to credit, particularly via credit cards. Recent research suggests, however, that young borrowers are actually among the least likely to experience a serious credit card default. One reason why people obtain credit cards early in life may be to build a strong credit history.
Reflections: Small Businesses
An enviable aspect of the U.S. economy around the globe is our spirit of innovation, entrepreneurship, ease of business entry and exit, and labor market flexibility. These are key attributes of a dynamic economy, one that offers opportunities for people to live good and productive lives. Entrepreneurship – setting up and running one’s own business – has always been part of the narrative of the American dream, an avenue to creating and growing wealth, contributing to the community, and leaving a legacy for one’s family.
Student Loans, Access to Credit and Consumer Financial Behavior
This paper provides novel evidence that increased student loan debts, caused by rising tuitions, increase borrowersâ€™ demand for additional consumer debt, while simultaneously restricting their ability to access it. The net effect of student loan debt on consumer borrowing varies by market, depending on whether the supply or demand channel dominates. In loosely underwritten credit markets, increased student loan debt causes borrowing to increase, while in tightly underwritten markets, increased student loan debt reduces the use of credit. These findings match predictions of a standard ...
A New Look at the Effects of the Interest Rate Ceiling in Arkansas
Arkansas has been a popular place to study the effects of rate ceilings because of its exceptionally low interest rate ceiling. This paper examines the effects of the Arkansas rate ceiling on credit use by risky nonprime Arkansas consumers, which are especially vulnerable to credit rationing because of the low ceiling. We compare the level and composition of consumer debt of nonprime consumers in Arkansas with that of prime Arkansas consumers and also nonprime consumers in the neighboring states. We find that nonprime Arkansas consumers are less likely to have consumer debt and, conditional ...
The Long-Run Effects of the 1930s HOLC “Redlining” Maps on Place-Based Measures of Economic Opportunity and Socioeconomic Success
We estimate the long-run effects of the 1930s Home Owners Loan Corporation (HOLC) redlining maps on census tract-level measures of socioeconomic status and economic opportunity from the Opportunity Atlas (Chetty et al. 2018). We use two identification strategies to identify the long-run effects of differential access to credit along HOLC boundaries. The first compares cross-boundary differences along actual HOLC boundaries to a comparison group of boundaries that had similar pre-existing differences as the actual boundaries. A second approach uses a statistical model to identify boundaries ...
Serving the Underserved: Microcredit as a Pathway to Commercial Banks
A large-scale microcredit expansion program---together with a credit bureau accessible to all lenders---can enable unbanked borrowers to build a credit history, facilitating their transition to commercial banks. Loan-level data from Rwanda show the program improved access to credit and reduced poverty. A sizable share of first-time borrowers switched to commercial banks, which cream-skim less risky borrowers and grant them larger, cheaper, and longer-maturity loans. Switchers have lower default risk than non-switchers and are not riskier than other bank borrowers. Switchers also obtain better ...
Unintended Consequences of "Mandatory" Flood Insurance
We document that the quasi-mandatory U.S. flood insurance program reduces mortgage lending along both the extensive and intensive margins. We measure flood insurance mandates using FEMA flood maps, focusing on the discreet updates to these maps that can be made exogenous to true underlying flood risk. Reductions in lending are most pronounced for low-income and low-FICO borrowers, implying that the effects are at least partially driven by the added financial burden of insurance. Our results are also stronger among non-local or more-distant banks, who have a diminished ability to monitor local ...