Becker Friedman Institute

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The Impact of Consumer Credit Access on Employment, Earnings, and Entrepreneurship

How does consumer credit access impact job flows, earnings, and entrepreneurship? To answer this question, we build a new administrative dataset which links individual employment and entrepreneur tax records to TransUnion credit reports, and we exploit the discrete increase in consumer credit access following bankruptcy flag removal. After flag removal, individuals flow into self-employment. New entrants earn more, borrow significantly using unsecured and secured consumer credit, and are more likely to become an employer business. In addition, after flag removal, non-employed and self-employed individuals are more likely to find unemployment-insured ``formal'' jobs at larger firms that pay greater wages. These estimates imply that firms believe previously bankrupt workers are 3.8% less productive than non-bankrupt workers, on average. These results suggest that consumer credit access matters for each stage of entrepreneurship and that credit-checks may be limiting formal sector employment opportunities.

Authors: 
Kyle Herkenhoff, University of Minnesota
Gordon Phillips, Dartmouth College Tuck School of Business
Ethan Cohen-Cole, Econ One Research
Publication Date: 
February, 2017
HCEO Working Groups: 
Publication Status: 
Document Number: 
2017-011
File Description: 
First version, February 6, 2017