NBER Working Papers by Søren Leth-Petersen

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Working Papers

October 2014Housing Collateral, Credit Constraints and Entrepreneurship - Evidence from a Mortgage Reform
with Thais Lærkholm Jensen, Ramana Nanda: w20583
We study how a mortgage reform that exogenously increased access to credit had an impact on entrepreneurship, using individual-level micro data from Denmark. The reform allows us to disentangle the role of credit access from wealth effects that typically confound analyses of the collateral channel. We find that a $30,000 increase in credit availability led to a 12 basis point increase in entrepreneurship, equivalent to a 4% increase in the number of entrepreneurs. New entrants were more likely to start businesses in sectors where they had no prior experience, and were more likely to fail than those who did not benefit from the reform. Our results provide evidence that credit constraints do affect entrepreneurship, but that the overall magnitudes are small. Moreover, the marginal individual...
October 2013Measuring the Accuracy of Survey Responses using Administrative Register Data: Evidence from Denmark
with Claus Thustrup Kreiner, David Dreyer Lassen: w19539
This paper shows how Danish administrative register data can be combined with survey data at the person level and be used to validate information collected in the survey. Register data are collected by automatic third party reporting and the potential errors associated with the two data sources are therefore plausibly orthogonal. Two examples are given to illustrate the potential of combining survey and register data. In the first example expenditure survey records with information about total expenditure are merged with income tax records holding information about income and wealth. Income and wealth data are used to impute total expenditure which is then compared to the survey measure. Results suggest that the two measures match each other well on average. In the second example we compar...

Published: Measuring the Accuracy of Survey Responses Using Administrative Register Data: Evidence from Denmark, Claus Thustrup Kreiner, David Dreyer Lassen, Søren Leth-Petersen. in Improving the Measurement of Consumer Expenditures, Carroll, Crossley, and Sabelhaus. 2015

November 2012Active vs. Passive Decisions and Crowdout in Retirement Savings Accounts: Evidence from Denmark
with Raj Chetty, John N. Friedman, Torben Nielsen, Tore Olsen: w18565
Using 41 million observations on savings for the population of Denmark, we show that the impacts of retirement savings policies on wealth accumulation depend on whether they change savings rates by active or passive choice. Subsidies for retirement accounts, which rely upon individuals to take an action to raise savings, primarily induce individuals to shift assets from taxable accounts to retirement accounts. We estimate that each $1 of government expenditure on subsidies increases total saving by only 1 cent. In contrast, policies that raise retirement contributions if individuals take no action - such as automatic employer contributions to retirement accounts - increase wealth accumulation substantially. We estimate that approximately 15% of individuals are "active savers" who respond t...

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