event Publicación: 18/07/2023
Autor: Scott Nelson
Co autores: Laura Blattner, Jacob Hartwig
Abstract: Over 30m US adults do not use formal consumer credit. How many of these are inefficiently excluded because they lack a credit history or have a poor credit score? We develop a framework to characterize the efficiency-maximizing system of credit histories and credit scoring, subject to the constraints imposed by the severity of adverse selection, and by the ability of credit histories to predict future risk. We find US consumer credit features a moderate amount of adverse selection and persistent consumer types. This adverse selection generates substantial welfare loss: a majority of today's non-borrowers would be first-best efficient to lend to. Credit reporting helps alleviate the costs of adverse selection, with the current US system recovering roughly two-thirds of the welfare that would be lost in a no-credit-reporting counterfactual, relative to a full-information first-best. We find that requiring histories to be shorter -- or to forget past default sooner -- would induce some market unraveling but also would help non-borrowing consumers escape the ``no history trap.''