Working Papers

August 2013, No. 13-09R

Are Young Borrowers Bad Borrowers? (Revised June 2014)

Peter Debbaut, Andra C. Ghent and Marianna Kudlyak

Young borrowers are the least experienced financially and, conventionally, thought to be most prone to financial mistakes. We study the relationship between age and financial problems related to credit cards. Our results challenge the notion that young borrowers are bad borrowers. We show that young borrowers are among the least likely to experience a serious credit card default. We then exploit the 2009 CARD Act to identify which individuals self-select into obtaining a credit card early in life. We find that individuals who choose early credit card use default less and are more likely to get a mortgage while young.

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