NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

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

Kyle Herkenhoff, Gordon Phillips, Ethan Cohen-Cole

NBER Working Paper No. 22846
Issued in November 2016
NBER Program(s):CF, LS

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.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w22846

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