Via the Washington Post comes this idea of economic incentive:
But research by noted economists Karl Case, John Quigley and Robert Shiller found the households were more powerful affected by declines in wealth than increases. An unexpected 1 percent drop in housing prices caused a permanent 0.1 percent decrease in spending, that study found. But a similar 1 percent rise in housing prices boosted consumer spending by only 0.03 percent.
“Rising wealth is gratifying, but the loss of wealth is terrifying,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moodys.com. “Households spend somewhat more freely as their nest eggs grow, but they slash their spending when their nest eggs shrink.”
William Emmons, chief economist for at the St. Louis Fed’s new Center for Household Financial Stability, said that many of the most vulnerable households began to treat credit as another form of income during the boom. After the bust, they were forced to dramatically rethink their finances, resulting in more cautious spending.
Emmons said many families have not experienced any recovery — or are even still losing wealth. Young Americans, those with few skills or are unemployed may not have been able to rebuild any wealth. He noted that though the number of foreclosures has dropped significantly, it is still more than double the pre-crisis amount.