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Author:Athreya, Kartik B. 

Working Paper
The Effects of Macroeconomic Shocks: Household Financial Distress Matters

When a macroeconomic shock arrives, variation in household balance-sheet health (captured by the presence of financial distress “FD”), leads to differential access to credit, and hence a distribution of consumption responses. As we document, though, over the past two recessions, households in prior FD also experienced macroeconomic shocks more intensely than others, leading to a distribution of shock severity. Quantifying the importance of each dimension of heterogeneity (FD or shock severity) for consumption requires a structural model. We find that heterogeneity in FD matters more than ...
Working Papers , Paper 2019-025

Working Paper
Consumption in the Great Recession: The Financial Distress Channel

During the Great Recession, the collapse of consumption across the US varied greatly but systematically with house-price declines. Our message is that household financial health matters for understanding this relationship. Two facts are essential for our finding: (1) the decline in house prices led to an increase in household financial distress (FD) prior to the decline in income during the recession, and (2) at the zip-code level, the prevalence of FD prior to the recession was positively correlated with house-price declines at the onset of the recession. We measure the power of the ...
Working Paper , Paper 19-13

Journal Article
Whom Will Opportunity Zones Help?

Opinion: Whom Will Opportunity Zones Help?
Econ Focus , Issue 1Q , Pages 32-32

Briefing
Expanding the Scope of Workforce Development

Workforce development efforts often are geared toward adult workers. But examining workforce development from the perspective of human capital theory suggests that earlier interventions may yield high returns.
Richmond Fed Economic Brief , Issue May

Briefing
Implications of Risks and Rewards in College Decisions

Despite a large and growing earnings premium for college graduates, growth in college enrollment and especially college attainment in the United States has been quite slow. The labor market's apparent lack of responsiveness to the earnings premium may be driven in part by the risks that marginally prepared students face when they go to college. Failing or dropping out could leave them with low wealth, high debt, and low earnings. Recent research indicates that neither further increases in the earnings premium nor reductions in college costs are likely to produce large increases in the college ...
Richmond Fed Economic Brief , Issue June

Journal Article
Earned income tax credit recipients: income, marginal tax rates, wealth, and credit constraints

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) has evolved into the largest anti-poverty program in the United States by providing tax credits for low and moderate income working families. In this paper, we describe the characteristics of EITC recipients at various ages using Current Population Survey data. In addition, we discuss the relevance of the EITC in affecting marginal income tax rates in the United States and discuss the effects of the EITC on household labor supply decisions. Lastly, using data from the Survey of Consumer Finances, we estimate wealth distributions for EITC recipients and ...
Economic Quarterly , Volume 96 , Issue 3Q , Pages 229-258

Journal Article
Unemployment insurance and personal bankruptcy

Economic Quarterly , Volume 89 , Issue Spr , Pages 33-53

Journal Article
Opinion: Investing in Women's Careers

In the early 2000s, only about 5 percent of all NBA players were from Europe. As of 2017, that number had risen to almost 14 percent. During this same period, the league's revenue grew from $2.5 billion to $7.4 billion, peaking in 2019 at $8.8 billion. Since that time, the NBA has invested in global talent on behalf of its teams, and it recently opened academies in Australia, India, Senegal, and Mexico. As a result, young athletes worldwide are choosing to play basketball and invest in their skills more often. The investment is paying off: The last five NBA MVP awards have gone to players ...
Econ Focus , Volume 23 , Issue 3Q , Pages 31-32

Working Paper
Household Financial Distress and the Burden of “Aggregate” Shocks

The goal of this paper is to show that household-level financial distress (FD) varies greatly, meaning there is unequal exposure to macroeconomic risk, and that FD can increase macroeconomic vulnerability. To do this, we first establish three facts: (i) regions in the U.S. vary significantly in their "FD-intensity," measured either by how much additional credit households therein can access, or in how delinquent they typically are on debts, (ii) shocks that are typically viewed as "aggregate" in nature hit geographic areas quite differently, and (iii) FD is an economic "preexisting ...
Working Papers , Paper 2019-025

Working Paper
The Persistence of Financial Distress.

Using recently available proprietary panel data, we show that while many (35%) US consumers experience fi nancial distress at some point in the life cycle, most of the events of nancial distress are primarily concentrated in a much smaller proportion of consumers in persistent trouble. Roughly 10% of consumers are distressed for more than a quarter of the life cycle, and less than 10% of borrowers account for half of all distress events. These facts can be largely accounted for in a straightforward extension of a workhorse model of defaultable debt that accommodates a simple form of ...
Research Working Paper , Paper RWP 17-15

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