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Household debt and consumption dynamics: A non-developed world view following the financial crisis

30 July 2021
Publication Type: Working Paper
JEL Code: D14, D15, J08, J20, J41, J58, J60

According to recent macroeconomic evidence (Bosch and Koch 2020b; Farrell and Kemp 2020), the global financial crisis is still impacting the South African financial landscape more than 10 years later. In an effort to better understand the effect of the financial crisis, we examine household debt dynamics, with particular attention to deleveraging, following the financial cycle peak. Our analysis is predicated on the National Income Dynamics Study, the first wave of which was conducted adjacent to the beginning of the crisis. We apply standard regression analysis finding heterogeneity in debt and deleveraging at the household level, with both an uptick in short-term debt in the early stages of the crisis and a reduction in long-term debt, primarily mortgage debt, since. Overall, deleveraging was greatest amongst higher income households with relatively larger mortgage debt-to-income ratios, although that was partially offset in households with higher mortgage repayment costs relative to income. Long-term deleveraging was also more likely amongst households with higher vehicle debt-to-income ratios, but lower consumer debt-to-income ratios.

Series title: Working paper 868
1 July 2021
Journal: Journal of Applied Economics
21 August 2021
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