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Liquidity Constraints and Imperfect Information in Subprime Lending

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  • William Adams
  • Liran Einav
  • Jonathan Levin

Abstract

We present new evidence on consumer liquidity constraints and the credit market conditions that might give rise to them. We analyze unique data from a large auto sales company serving the subprime market. Short-term liquidity appears to be a key driver of consumer behavior. Demand increases sharply during tax rebate season and purchases are highly sensitive to down-payment requirements. Lenders also face substantial informational problems. Default rates rise significantly with loan size, providing a rationale for loan caps, and higher-risk borrowers demand larger loans. This adverse selection is mitigated, however, by risk-based pricing. (JEL D14, D82, D83, G21)

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 99 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 49-84

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:99:y:2009:i:1:p:49-84

Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.99.1.49
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  1. David Laibson & Andrea Repetto & Jeremy Tobacman, 2000. "A Debt Puzzle," Documentos de Trabajo 80, Centro de Economía Aplicada, Universidad de Chile.
  2. Karlan, Dean S. & Zinman, Jonathan, 2007. "Observing Unobservables: Identifying Information Asymmetries with a Consumer Credit Field Experiment," CEPR Discussion Papers 6182, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Deaton, Angus, 1991. "Saving and Liquidity Constraints," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(5), pages 1221-48, September.
  4. Wendy Edelberg, 2004. "Testing for adverse selection and moral hazard in consumer loan markets," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2004-09, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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  6. repec:rus:hseeco:93730 is not listed on IDEAS
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  8. Orazio Attanasio & Pinelopi K. Goldberg & Ekaterini Kyriazidou, 2000. "Credit Constraints in the Market for Consumer Durables: Evidence from Micro Data on Car Loans," NBER Working Papers 7694, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Wendy Edelberg, 2003. "Risk-based pricing of interest rates in household loan markets," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2003-62, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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  11. Jaffee, Dwight M & Russell, Thomas, 1976. "Imperfect Information, Uncertainty, and Credit Rationing," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 90(4), pages 651-66, November.
  12. Zeldes, Stephen P, 1989. "Consumption and Liquidity Constraints: An Empirical Investigation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(2), pages 305-46, April.
  13. Raj Chetty, 2005. "Why do Unemployment Benefits Raise Unemployment Durations? Moral Hazard vs. Liquidity," NBER Working Papers 11760, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Nicholas S. Souleles, 1999. "The Response of Household Consumption to Income Tax Refunds," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 947-958, September.
  15. Rothschild, Michael & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1976. "Equilibrium in Competitive Insurance Markets: An Essay on the Economics of Imperfect Information," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 90(4), pages 630-49, November.
  16. Stiglitz, Joseph E & Weiss, Andrew, 1981. "Credit Rationing in Markets with Imperfect Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 393-410, June.
  17. Ausubel, Lawrence M, 1991. "The Failure of Competition in the Credit Card Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 50-81, March.
  18. Jonathan A. Parker, 1999. "The Reaction of Household Consumption to Predictable Changes in Social Security Taxes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 959-973, September.
  19. Christopher D. Carroll, 2001. "A Theory of the Consumption Function, with and without Liquidity Constraints," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(3), pages 23-45, Summer.
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