Working Paper BETA #2024-19

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Title : The unequal distribution of credit: Is there any role for monetary policy?

Author(s) : Samuel Ligonnière, Salima Ouerk

Abstract : Is current monetary policy making the distribution of credit more unequal? Using french householdlevel data, we document credit volumes along the income distribution. Our analysis centers on assessing the impact of surprises in monetary policy on credit volumes at different income levels. Expansionary monetary policy surprises lead to a surge in mortgage credit exclusively for households within the top 20% income bracket. Monetary policy then does not impact mortgage credit volume for 80% of households, whereas its effect on consumer credit exists and remains consistent across the income distribution. This result is notably associated with the engagement of this particular income group in rental investments. Controlling for bank decision factors and city dynamics, we attribute these results to individual demand factors. Mechanisms related to intertemporal substitution and affordability drive the impact of monetary policy surprises. They manifest through the policy’s influence on collaterals and a larger down payment.

Key-words : monetary policy, credit distribution, inequality

JEL Classification : E41 E52 G21 G23 G28