Where is the Missing Credit Card Debt? Clues and Implications

26 Pages Posted: 28 Nov 2007

See all articles by Jonathan Zinman

Jonathan Zinman

Dartmouth College; Innovations for Poverty Action; Jameel Poverty Action Lab; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: September 2007

Abstract

In this Discussion Paper, Jonathan Zinman, an assistant professor of economics at Dartmouth College and a visiting scholar with the Payment Cards Center, makes a casual comparison of industry and household data sets which suggests that households underreport credit card borrowing by a factor of three. This paper offers some reassurance and several new stylized facts. Accounting for differences in definitions between household and industry measures reduces debt underreporting to a factor of two. Underreporting is less severe for general-purpose than for other cards. The true underreporting factor has remained stable over the past 15 years, even as 26 million households entered the market. Households report charges and account holding relatively accurately.

Keywords: Credit card, Revolving debt, Survey of Consumer Finances, G.19, Data quality

JEL Classification: C81, D1, D91

Suggested Citation

Zinman, Jonathan, Where is the Missing Credit Card Debt? Clues and Implications (September 2007). Federal Reserve Bank of Philla Payment Cards Center Discussion Paper No. 07-11. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1031518 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1031518

Jonathan Zinman (Contact Author)

Dartmouth College ( email )

Hanover, NH 03755
United States
603-646-0075 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.dartmouth.edu/jzinman/

Innovations for Poverty Action

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Jameel Poverty Action Lab

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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