We construct a new data set of consumption and income data for the largest U.S. metropolitan areas, and we show that the extent of risk-sharing between regions varies substantially over time. In times when U.S. housing collateral is scarce nationally, regional consumption is about twice as sensitive to income shocks. We also document higher sensitivity in regions with lower housing collateral. Household-level borrowing frictions can explain this new stylized fact. When the value of housing relative to human wealth falls, loan collateral shrinks, borrowing (risk sharing) declines, and the sensitivity of consumption to income increases. Our model aggregates heterogeneous, borrowing-constrained households into regions characterized by a common housing market. The resulting regional consumption patterns quantitatively match those in the data.
Lustig, Hanno, and Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh. "How Much Does Household Collateral Constrain Regional Risk Sharing?" Review of Economic Dynamics 13, no. 2 (April 2010): 265-294.
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