Discussion paper

DP13229 Credit Shocks and Equilibrium Dynamics in Consumer Durable Goods Markets

This paper studies equilibrium dynamics in consumer durable goods markets after aggregate credit shocks. We introduce two novel features into a general-equilibrium model of durable consumption with heterogeneous households facing idiosyncratic income risk and borrowing constraints: (i) indivisible durable goods are vertically differentiated in their quality and (ii) trade on secondary markets at market-clearing prices, with households endogenously choosing when to trade or scrap their durables. The model highlights a new transmission mechanism for macroeconomic shocks and successfully matches several empirical patterns that we document using data on U.S. car markets around the Great Recession. After a tightening of the borrowing limit, debt-constrained households postpone the decision to scrap and upgrade their low-quality cars, which depresses mid-quality car prices. In turn, this effect reduces wealthy households' incentives to replace their mid-quality cars with high-quality ones, thereby decreasing new-car sales. We further use our framework to evaluate targeted fiscal stimulus policies such as the Car Allowance Rebate System in 2009 (``Cash for Clunkers'').


Gavazza, A and A Lanteri (2018), ‘DP13229 Credit Shocks and Equilibrium Dynamics in Consumer Durable Goods Markets‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 13229. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp13229