Investigating Income and Racial Disparities in Auto Lending

Research Team: Evelyn Blumenberg (lead), Fariba Siddiq, and Samuel Speroni

UC Campus(es): UCLA

Problem Statement: The economic fallout from the current COVID-19 crisis has been hardest on low-income families. A recent survey from the Pew Research Center indicates that 43 percent of U.S. adults report that they or someone in their household has either lost a job or taken a cut in pay. Moreover, more than half of lower-income households (53 percent report being unable to pay some of their bills. These data suggest that the current crisis likely saddles low-income families with untenable debt, which for some households may result in the loss of household vehicles.

Project Description: The project team will analyze the potential effects of the COVID-19 crisis on automobile debt and delinquencies across neighborhoods by income and race/ethnicity. This project is an extension of a project initiated in 2021 examining auto debt using data from the University of California Consumer Credit Panel and the American Community Survey. The credit data include information on both auto debt and delinquency. From 2010, the dataset also includes a census tract identifier. To match the credit data to demographic characteristics, the team drew on the 5-year American Community Survey and assembled data on census tracts by income quintile and majority race neighborhoods. This project extends the analysis with the most current data from the first quarter of 2021, three quarters into the pandemic.

Status: In Progress

Budget: $5,000