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Keywords:household finances 

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

Discussion Paper
Housing Returns in Big and Small Cities

Houses are the largest asset for most households in the United States, as is the case in many other countries as well. Within countries, there is substantial regional variation in house prices—compare real estate values in Manhattan, New York City, with those in Manhattan, Kansas, for example. But what about returns on investment? Are long-run returns on real estate investment—the sum of price appreciation and rental income flows—higher in superstar cities like New York than in the rest of the country? In this blog post, we present new and potentially surprising insights from research ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20220202

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
Just Released: Auto Loans in High Gear

Total household debt increased modestly, by $32 billion, in the fourth quarter of 2018, according to the latest Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit from the New York Fed’s Center for Microeconomic Data. Although household debt balances have been rising since mid-2013, their sluggish growth in the fourth quarter was mainly due to a flattening in the growth of mortgage balances. Auto loans, which have been climbing at a steady clip since 2011, increased by $9 billion, boosted by historically strong levels of newly originated loans. In fact, 2018 marked the highest level in the ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20190212

Working Paper
Owner-Occupancy Fraud and Mortgage Performance

We use a matched credit bureau and mortgage dataset to identify occupancy fraud in residential mortgage originations, that is, borrowers who misrepresented their occupancy status as owner-occupants rather than residential real estate investors. In contrast to previous studies, our dataset allows us to show that – during the housing bubble – such fraud was broad based, appearing in the government-sponsored enterprise market and in loans held on bank portfolios as well, and increases the effective share of investors by 50 percent. We show that a key benefit of investor fraud was obtaining a ...
Working Papers , Paper 19-53

Discussion Paper
Just Released: Great Recession’s Impact Lingers in Hardest-Hit Regions

The New York Fed’s Center for Microeconomic Data today released our Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit for the fourth quarter of 2017. Along with this report, we have posted an update of state-level data on balances and delinquencies for 2017. Overall aggregate debt balances increased again, with growth in all types of balances except for home equity lines of credit. In our post on the first quarter of 2017 we reported that overall balances had surpassed their peak set in the third quarter of 2008—the result of a slow but steady climb from several years of sharp deleveraging ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20180213

Report
Import competition and household debt

We analyze the effect of import competition on household balance sheets from 2000 to 2007 using individual data on consumer finances. We exploit variation in exposure to foreign competition using industry-level shipping costs and initial differences in regions? industry specialization. We show that household debt increased significantly in regions where manufacturing industries are more exposed to import competition. A one standard deviation increase in exposure to import competition explains 30 percent of the cross-regional variation in household leverage growth, and is mostly driven by home ...
Staff Reports , Paper 821

Discussion Paper
A Monthly Peek into Americans’ Credit During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Total household debt was roughly flat in the second quarter of 2020, according to the latest Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit from the New York Fed’s Center for Microeconomic Data. But, for the first time, the dynamics in household debt balances were driven primarily by a sharp decline in credit card balances, as consumer spending plummeted. In an effort to gain greater clarity, the New York Fed and the Federal Reserve System have acquired monthly updates for the New York Fed Consumer Credit Panel, based on anonymized Equifax credit report data. We’ve been closely watching ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20200806

Working Paper
How Do Mortgage Rate Resets Affect Consumer Spending and Debt Repayment? Evidence from Canadian Consumers

One of the most important channels through which monetary policy affects the real economy is changes in mortgage rates. This paper studies the effects of mortgage rate changes resulting from monetary policy shifts on homeowners’ spending, debt repayment and defaults. The Canadian institutional setting facilitates the design of identification strategies for causal inference, since the vast majority of mortgages in the country experience predetermined, periodic and automatic contract renewals with the mortgage rate reset based on the prevailing market rate. This allows us to exploit ...
Working Papers , Paper 2206

Report
Patterns of rainfall insurance participation in rural India

This paper describes the contract design and institutional features of an innovative rainfall insurance policy offered to smallholder farmers in rural India and presents preliminary evidence on the determinants of insurance participation. Insurance take-up is found to be decreasing in basis risk between insurance payouts and income fluctuations, higher among wealthy households, and lower among households that are credit constrained. These results match predictions of a simple neoclassical model appended with borrowing constraints. Other patterns are less consistent with the benchmark model. ...
Staff Reports , Paper 302

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