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Sonia Costa

20 February 2014
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 1639
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Abstract
The aim of this paper is twofold. First, we present an up-to-date assessment of the differences across euro area countries in the distributions of various measures of debt conditional on household characteristics. We consider three different outcomes: the probability of holding debt, the amount of debt held and, in the case of secured debt, the interest rate paid on the main mortgage. Second, we examine the role of legal and economic institutions in accounting for these differences. We use data from the first wave of a new survey of household finances, the Household Finance and Consumption Survey, to achieve these aims. We find that the patterns of secured and unsecured debt outcomes vary markedly across countries. Among all the institutions considered the length of asset repossession periods best accounts for the features of the distribution of secured debt. In countries with longer repossession periods, the fraction of people who borrow is smaller, the youngest group of households borrow lower amounts (conditional on borrowing), and the mortgage interest rates paid by low-income households are higher. Regulatory loan-to-value ratios, the taxation of mortgages and the prevalence of interest-only or fixed rate mortgages deliver less robust results.
JEL Code
D14 : Microeconomics→Household Behavior and Family Economics→Household Saving; Personal Finance
G21 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Banks, Depository Institutions, Micro Finance Institutions, Mortgages
G28 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Government Policy and Regulation
K35 : Law and Economics→Other Substantive Areas of Law→Personal Bankruptcy Law
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Household Finance and Consumption Network (HFCN)
28 January 2016
OCCASIONAL PAPER SERIES - No. 167
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Abstract
Although monetary union created the conditions for improving economic and financial integration in the euro area, in the context of the financial and sovereign crises, it has also been accompanied by the emergence of severe imbalances in savings and investment, credit and housing booms in some countries and the allocation of resources towards less productive sectors. The global financial crisis and the euro area sovereign debt crisis then led to major and abrupt adjustments as the risks posed by the large imbalances materialised. Although the institutional shortcomings in the EU that permitted the emergence of imbalances have been largely addressed since 2008, the adjustment process is not yet complete. From a macroeconomic perspective, the imbalances in the external accounts have led to the accumulation of high levels of external liabilities that need to be reduced, which, in turn, is weakening investment and therefore weighing on growth prospects and growth potential. From a macroprudential perspective, the lingering imbalances have added to systemic risk and rendered the euro area more vulnerable to risks. This Occasional Paper analyses the dynamic patterns in macroeconomic imbalances primarily from the former perspective, addressing in particular the connections between macroeconomic and sectoral adjustments of imbalances and the challenges for economic growth and performance over a longer horizon.
JEL Code
E21 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy→Consumption, Saving, Wealth
E22 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy→Capital, Investment, Capacity
F32 : International Economics→International Finance→Current Account Adjustment, Short-Term Capital Movements
F41 : International Economics→Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance→Open Economy Macroeconomics