Measuring the effects of debt forgiveness

Project Summary:

In the aftermath of the Great Recession, U.S. policymakers and the public are more aware than ever of the dangers of large increases in private debt. But we are now left with a considerable amount of debt that many households can’t even begin to dig out from under, which not only holds back consumption but also drastically increases wealth inequality. Many analysts recommend partial debt forgiveness as a way of helping households better handle their debt loads. This research, which includes the compilation of a brand-new data source, will help economists evaluate debt-relief programs that have implications for tax policy, housing finance, and student loan concessions.


Will Dobbie is an Assistant Professor of Economics and Public Affairs at Princeton University and a Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research and the Education Innovation Laboratory at Harvard University. Dobbie's research interests are primarily in the areas of labor economics, the economics of education, and household finance. His work has examined the effect of school inputs on student outcomes, the importance of peer effects, and the benefits of providing debt relief to financially distressed borrowers.

Dobbie received his Ph.D. in public policy from Harvard University, an M.A. in economics from the University of Washington, and a B.A. in economics from Kalamazoo College.