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Through a relationship with TransUnion, the Kilts Center makes available an archive of anonymized historical, longitudinal consumer credit data that begin in July 2000. These data make possible cutting-edge research in marketing, finance, economics, and more.


Tenured and tenure-track faculty, PhD students, and postdocs from The University of Chicago are eligible to use these data. All users must comply with TransUnion’s data use policies included below. Access to these data by study coauthors is prohibited.

Request Access

Eligible researchers from The University of Chicago interested in submitting a research proposal should contact for more information on the proposal process.


Years Available: From July 2000 with ongoing updates.

What Is Included: The dataset consists of a completely anonymized, longitudinal random sample of 10% of non-deceased consumer records found in our credit archives. Each month the sample is enhanced with a random sample of 10% of consumers that are new entrants to the credit file that month. Data include consumer and account level variables.

Matching/Linking Considerations: All subject and trade keys prepared by TransUnion are unique to this dataset. They enable linking of subjects and trades across archives while preventing researchers from matching them to external repositories.

Any linking of supplemental data assets in support of a particular research objective must be coordinated with and approved by TransUnion according to a mutually agreeable approach, to be specified in the formal research proposal.



  • The primary use of the data must be for scholarly research intended for publication in academic journals and presentations at academic conferences.
    Researchers are prohibited from using data for any commercial purposes, consulting, litigation, or work for any third party, person, firm, consortium, or institution.
  • Each individual eligible to access the data must be employed by or under direct contract or control of The University of Chicago.
    Researchers who wish to use TransUnion data must submit a project proposal to the Kilts Center and TransUnion and may contact the Kilts Center for more information on the process.
  • In the event researchers make changes to their project scope, add coauthors, receive funding from a new source or would like to merge other datasets with TransUnion data, they must submit a new proposal to the Kilts Center and TransUnion to review and approve.
  • Researchers must store data only on devices and computers owned by The University of Chicago, and researchers must take all reasonable efforts to protect data as they would their institution’s confidential information.
  • Researchers may not use credit scores or any mapping transformation or approximation of such scores as the dependent variable in a predictive model of any type. More generally, any use which may constitute reverse-engineering of credit scores or ratings is prohibited. Researchers may request an exception by sending a justification to Kilts Center and TransUnion for consideration and approval.
  • Researchers may not make any attempts to identify consumers. 
  • Any approved researchers who leave The University of Chicago will no longer be eligible for access to the data or be allowed to publish works using the TransUnion data. At least one (1) researcher must remain employed by Chicago Booth in order to publish research. Per the policy below, eligible graduating PhD students may request an exception to this policy to complete their approved active projects. Faculty who leave University of Chicago can contact TransUnion to request a data subscription at their new academic institution, but University of Chicago cannot guarantee TransUnion will approve.
  • Graduating PhD students may have the option to retain access to TransUnion data sample used in the context of their approved usage for a period of up to two (2) years by signing a post-graduation permissible use agreement, which must be countersigned by TransUnion upon review and approval. In this cases, access to additional TransUnion data beyond the sample used in the approved study may be granted upon a request submission and approval by TransUnion. The Kilts Center team can provide more details on eligibility and required request forms.


  • Prior to disseminating results in any format (papers, presentations, etc.), researcher(s) must submit to Kilts Center and TransUnion in a complete publication-ready state. TransUnion will have fifteen (15) business days to review for accuracy and compliance. TransUnion must provide consent in writing.
  • Researchers must provide the Kilts Center and TransUnion a final copy of any published research.
  • After TransUnion approves research papers, presentations, publications, etc. for public dissemination, researchers must submit such papers to the Kilts Center at Chicago Booth Marketing Data Center Paper Series at Social Science Research Network (SSRN).

For presentations, working papers, journal articles, dissertations, and publications, Researchers must include the following disclaimers:

"Calculated (or derived) based on credit data provided by TransUnion, a global information solutions company, through a relationship with the Kilts Center for Marketing at The University of Chicago Booth School of Business.”


The COVID Medical-Debt Bomb that Fizzled
Martin Daks
Even before COVID-19, Americans already owed $140 billion for delinquent medical bills. When the pandemic hit the United States, that debt burden appeared likely to increase significantly, as hospitalizations spiked, unemployment soared, and millions lost their employer-sponsored health benefits.


Competition and Selection in Credit Markets
Constantine Yannelis and Anthony Lee Zhang
In more competitive markets, lenders have lower market shares, and thus lower incentives to monitor borrowers. Thus, when markets are competitive, all lenders face a riskier pool of borrowers, which can lead interest rates to be higher, and consumer welfare to be lower.


What Determines Consumer Financial Distress? Place- and Person-Based Factors
Benjamin J. Keys, Neale Mahoney, and Hanbin Yang
Financial distress evolves when people move to places with different levels of financial distress. For collections and default, there is only weak convergence following a move, suggesting these types of financial distress are not primarily caused by place-based factors (such as local economic conditions, loan supply, and state laws) but instead reflect person-based characteristics (such as financial literacy and risk preferences). 


Financing the Gig Economy
Gregory Buchak
The gig economy is uniquely sensitive to household borrowing constraints on the extensive margin: When finance is unavailable to low-income households, these gains evaporate.

Credit Supply and Housing Speculation
Atif Mian and Amir Sufi
The surge in private label mortgage securitization in 2003 fueled a large expansion in mortgage credit supply by lenders financed with non-core deposits.

How do Americans repay their debt? The balance-matching heuristic
John Gathergood, Neale Mahoney, Neil Stewart, and Jörg Weber
By studying credit card repayments using linked data on multiple cards from the United Kingdom, the authors showed that individuals did not allocate payments to the higher interest rate card, which would minimize the cost of borrowing, but instead made repayments according to a balance-matching heuristic under which the share of repayments on each card is matched to the share of balances on each card.

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