Monthly Archives: April 2021

Household Debt Overhang Did Hardly Cause a Larger Spending Fall during the Financial Crisis in the UK

“Household Debt Overhang Did Hardly Cause a Larger Spending Fall during the Financial Crisis in the UK,” April 2021, paper. CEPR Discussion Paper DP16059.

Abstract

The “debt-overhang hypothesis” – that households cut back more on their spending in a crisis when they have higher levels of outstanding mortgage debt (Dynan, 2012) – seems to be taken for granted by macroprudential authorities in several countries in their policy decisions, as well as by the international organizations that evaluate and comment on countries’ macroprudential policy. Results are presented for UK microdata that reject the debt-overhang hypothesis. The results instead support the “spending-normalization hypothesis” of Andersen, Duus, and Jensen (2016a), what can also be called the “debt-financed overspending” hypothesis – that the correlation between high pre-crisis household indebtedness and subsequent spending cuts  during the crisis reflects high debt-financed spending pre-crisis and a return to normal spending during the crisis. As discussed in Svensson (2019, 2020), this is consistent with the correlation reflecting debt-financed overspending through what Muellbauer (2012) calls the “housing-collateral household-demand” and Mian and Sufi (2018) the “debt- driven household demand” channel. The correlation is thus spurious and an example of omitted-variable bias.

A simple model shows that consumption and debt changes are directly and strongly positively correlated, whereas consumption and debt levels are quite weakly negatively correlated. Importantly, and in contrast, examples show that there is no systematic relation between consumption cuts and levels of or changes in LTV ratios. The lack of a robust relation between consumption cuts and levels of or changes in LTV ratios implies that tests of these hypotheses should generally not be done by regressions of consumption cuts on levels of or changes in LTV ratios.

Amorteringskraven snedvrider och utestänger: Uppdatering

Amorteringskraven snedvrider och utestänger: Uppdatering“, inlägg, Ekonomistas, 13 april 2021.

Trots att amorteringskraven saknar påvisbar samhällsnytta och medför stora individuella och sociala kostnader (se härhär och här) har Finansinspektions generaldirektör Erik Thedéen meddelat på DN-debatt att det tillfälliga undantaget från amorteringskraven löper ut i augusti. Amorteringskraven har stora och individuella kostnader, i och med att de snedvrider bostadsmarknaden och skapar höga trösklar för inträde för bostadssökande som saknar hög inkomst, förmögenhet och rika föräldrar, särskilt unga. De utestängs från bostäder som de mycket väl skulle ha råd med. Detta visas här med nya beräkningar – uppdaterade från 2017 till 2019 – av boendebetalningar och minsta inkomst för att få lån med olika amorteringsalternativ för en genomsnittlig etta i Stockholm kommun 2019 (”Stockholmsettan”). Den minsta inkomsten jämförs med inkomstfördelningen för 25–29-åringar i Stockholms kommun under 2019. Dessa beräkningar för 2017 har betecknats som ”överdrivna” av Thedéen.

Household Debt Overhang Did Hardly Cause a Larger Spending Fall during the Financial Crisis in Australia

Household Debt Overhang Did Hardly Cause a Larger Spending Fall during the Financial Crisis in Australia,” April 2021, paper. CEPR Diskussion Paper DP16094.

Abstract

The “debt-overhang hypothesis” – that households cut back more on their spending in a crisis when they have higher levels of outstanding mortgage debt (Dynan, 2012) – seems to be taken for granted by macroprudential authorities in several countries in their policy decisions, as well as by the international organizations that evaluate and comment on countries’ macroprudential policy. New results for Australian microdata are presented that reject the debt-overhang hypothesis. The results instead support the “spending-normalization hypothesis” of Andersen, Duus, and Jensen (2016), what can also be called the “debt-financed overspending” hypothesis – that the correlation between high pre-crisis household indebtedness and subsequent spending cuts during the crisis reflects high debt-financed spending pre-crisis and a return to normal spending during the crisis. As discussed in Svensson (2019, 2020), this is consistent with the above correlation reflecting debt-financed overspending through what Muellbauer (2012) calls the “housing-collateral household demand” channel and Mian and Sufi (2018) the “debt-driven household demand” channel.