Modeling the Credit Card Revolution: The Role of Debt Collection and Informal Bankruptcy
50 Pages Posted: 23 Apr 2013
Date Written: April 21, 2013
In the data, most consumer defaults on unsecured credit are informal and the lending industry devotes significant resources to debt collection. We develop a new theory of credit card lending that takes these two features into account. The two key elements of our model are moral hazard and costly state verification that relies on the use of information technology. We show that the model gives rise to a novel channel through which IT progress can affect outcomes in the credit markets, and argue that this channel can be critical to understand the trends associated with the rapid expansion of credit card borrowing in the 1980s and over the 1990s. Independently, the mechanism of the model helps reconcile high levels of defaults and indebtedness observed in the US data.
Keywords: credit cards, consumer credit, unsecured credit, revolving credit, informal bankruptcy, debt collection, moral hazard
JEL Classification: D1, D8, G2
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation