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Keywords:household debt 

Report
Modigliani Meets Minsky: Inequality, Debt, and Financial Fragility in America, 1950-2016

This paper studies the secular increase in U.S. household debt and its relation to growing income inequality and financial fragility. We exploit a new household-level data set that covers the joint distributions of debt, income, and wealth in the United States over the past seven decades. The data show that increased borrowing by middle-class families with low income growth played a central role in rising indebtedness. Debt-to-income ratios have risen most dramatically for households between the 50th and 90th percentiles of the income distribution. While their income growth was low, ...
Staff Reports , Paper 924

Working Paper
Does Greater Inequality Lead to More Household Borrowing? New Evidence from Household Data

One suggested hypothesis for the dramatic rise in household borrowing that preceded the financial crisis is that low-income households increased their demand for credit to finance higher consumption expenditures in order to "keep up" with higher-income households. Using household level data on debt accumulation during 2001-2012, we show that low-income households in high-inequality regions accumulated less debt relative to income than their counterparts in lower-inequality regions, which negates the hypothesis. We argue instead that these patterns are consistent with supply-side ...
Working Paper , Paper 14-1

Discussion Paper
Just Released: A Look at Borrowing, Repayment, and Bankruptcy Rates by Age

Household debt balances increased in the third quarter of 2018, a seventeenth consecutive increase. Total debt balances reached $13.51 trillion, a level more than 20 percent above the trough reached in 2013, according to the latest Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit from the New York Fed’s Center for Microeconomic Data. With today’s report we begin publishing a new set of charts that depict debt and repayment outcomes by the age of the borrower. The report and this analysis are based on the New York Fed Consumer Credit Panel (CCP), a 5 percent sample of anonymized Equifax ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20181116b

Journal Article
Asset Diversification and Low Debt Are the Keys to Building and Maintaining Wealth

Greatly expanded access to home mortgages during the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s appeared to make the American dream a reality for millions of families. Homeownership was attainable by many who, for the first time, were able to take out a mortgage with an extremely low or no down payment ? even if they had a blemished credit history or none at all. For those with access to their accumulated home equity through mortgage refinancing or other home-secured borrowing, as well as to other sources of credit, lack of available cash no longer meant that they had to delay making routine purchases, buying a ...
Cascade , Volume 1

Discussion Paper
What Explains the Post–2011 Trends of Longer Maturities and Rising Default Rates on Auto Loans?

This paper quantifies relationships of long-term auto borrowing and auto-loan default to observable borrower characteristics and economic variables. We also quantify the residual components of the trends in long-term borrowing and delinquency not attributable to identifiable factors. Second, our paper provides new evidence on the relationship between longer-term borrowing and auto-loan default risk. We find that observable factors associated with the choice of a long loan term usually indicate an increased risk of default. We also find that the increasing share of long-term loans and the ...
Consumer Finance Institute discussion papers , Paper 20-02

Newsletter
What are the consequences of missed payments on consumer debts?

In order to understand better how the unfolding economic crisis is likely to affect U.S. households, this Chicago Fed Letter looks at what happens when borrowers miss debt payments and how long it takes for them to face a severe adverse consequence, such as foreclosure, wage garnishment, or repossession.
Chicago Fed Letter , Issue 437 , Pages 8

Discussion Paper
The Student Loan Landscape

Student loans have recently attracted a huge amount of attention from the press and policymakers. In this post, the first in our three-part series this week, we’ll use our Consumer Credit Panel dataset, a representative sample drawn from anonymized Equifax credit data, to describe the landscape of the outstanding U.S. student loan portfolio. Much of our discussion will address updates to several graphs that we’ve presented before, most recently in a 2014 staff report, “Measuring Student Debt and Its Performance”; readers can find more detail there. We’ll also update some earlier ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20150218

Working Paper
Asset Pledgeability and Endogenously Leveraged Bubbles

We develop a simple model of defaultable debt and rational bubbles in the price of an asset, which can be pledged as collateral in a competitive credit pool. When the asset pledgeability is low, the down payment is high, and bubble investment is unleveraged, as in a standard rational bubble model. When the pledgeability is high, the down payment is low, making it easier for leveraged borrowers to invest in the bubbly asset. As loans are packaged together into a competitive pool, the pricing of individual default risk may facilitate risk-taking. In equilibrium, credit-constrained borrowers may ...
Working Paper , Paper 18-11

Report
The Effects of the saving and banking glut on the U.S. economy

We use a quantitative equilibrium model with houses, collateralized debt, and foreign borrowing to study the impact of global imbalances on the U.S. economy in the 2000s. Our results suggest that the dynamics of foreign capital flows account for between one-fourth and one-third of the increase in U.S. house prices and household debt that preceded the financial crisis. The key to these findings is that the model generates the sustained low level of interest rates observed over that period.
Staff Reports , Paper 648

Report
Household leveraging and deleveraging

U.S. households' debt skyrocketed between 2000 and 2007, but has since been falling. This leveraging and deleveraging cycle cannot be accounted for by the liberalization and subsequent tightening of mortgage credit standards that occurred during the period. We base this conclusion on a quantitative dynamic general equilibrium model calibrated using macroeconomic aggregates and microeconomic data from the Survey of Consumer Finances. From the perspective of the model, the credit cycle is more likely due to factors that impacted house prices more directly, thus affecting the availability of ...
Staff Reports , Paper 602

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