Shale Shocked: Cash Windfalls and Household Debt Repayment
62 Pages Posted: 16 Oct 2020
Date Written: August 26, 2020
How do persistent cash flow shocks affect debt repayment across the distribution of households? Using individual data on natural gas shale royalty payments matched with credit bureau data for 215,639 consumers, we estimate that individuals repay 33 cents of debt per dollar of windfall, and that initially-subprime individuals repay approximately 5 times more debt than initially-prime individuals do. This difference in debt repayment is driven by changes to revolving debt balances. Finally, we show that debt repayment precedes durable goods consumption, particularly for households who were initially financially constrained. These results shed new light on how deleveraging affects household consumption.
Keywords: household deleveraging; debt repayment; cash windfalls; shale; Fracking Revolution
JEL Classification: G51, D14, N52, E21
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