Household Debt and Business Cycles Worldwide

63 Pages Posted: 5 Sep 2015 Last revised: 9 Feb 2017

Atif R. Mian

Princeton University - Department of Economics; Princeton University - Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs; NBER

Amir Sufi

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business; NBER

Emil Verner

Princeton University - Department of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: February 8, 2017

Abstract

An increase in the household debt to GDP ratio predicts lower GDP growth and higher unemployment in the medium run for an unbalanced panel of 30 countries from 1960 to 2012. Low mortgage spreads are associated with an increase in the household debt to GDP ratio and a decline in subsequent GDP growth, highlighting the importance of credit supply shocks. Economic forecasters systematically over-predict GDP growth at the end of household debt booms, suggesting an important role of flawed expectations formation. The negative relation between the change in household debt to GDP and subsequent output growth is stronger for countries with less flexible exchange rate regimes. We also uncover a global household debt cycle that partly predicts the severity of the global growth slowdown after 2007. Countries with a household debt cycle more correlated with the global household debt cycle experience a sharper decline in growth after an increase in domestic household debt.

Keywords: debt, business cycle, crises, household debt, GDP forecast

JEL Classification: D12, E2, E3, G2

Suggested Citation

Mian, Atif R. and Sufi, Amir and Verner, Emil, Household Debt and Business Cycles Worldwide (February 8, 2017). Fama-Miller Working Paper; Chicago Booth Research Paper; Kreisman Working Papers Series in Housing Law and Policy No. 38. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2655804 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2655804

Atif R. Mian (Contact Author)

Princeton University - Department of Economics ( email )

Princeton, NJ 08544-1021
United States

Princeton University - Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs ( email )

Princeton University
Princeton, NJ 08544-1021
United States

NBER

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Amir Sufi

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business ( email )

5807 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

NBER

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Emil Verner

Princeton University - Department of Economics ( email )

Princeton, NJ
United States

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