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Rent-to-own agreements: Customer characteristics and contract outcomes

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  • Anderson, Michael H.
  • Jaggia, Sanjiv

Abstract

The rent-to-own (RTO) industry, by offering immediate access to household goods for a small periodic fee with no credit check or down payment, has strong appeal to low income and financially distressed consumers. An important policy question is whether an RTO agreement is used as a rental/lease with build-in purchase option or as something more akin to an installment loan. Given the embedded options to return the item or to purchase it early, the actual rent paid by RTO customers is substantially lower than the oft-reported total rent which assumes that agreements go to term. We employ a log-normal censored regression model to analyze the influence of customer demographics as well as the transactional details of the contract on the rent paid by consumers using rent-to-own. Our main conclusions are (1) it is the "working poor" that are likely to pay more rent, (2) there appears to be a clientele effect with customers paying more rent under bi-weekly and monthly, as opposed to weekly, payment schedules, and (3) customers who exhibit delinquency in making contractual payments generally end up paying more rent. Further, our data allows some observations on annual percentage rates by illustrating the business risk present for RTO stores as well as the cross-subsidization of consumers.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economics and Business.

Volume (Year): 61 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 51-69

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jebusi:v:61:y:2009:i:1:p:51-69

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jeconbus

Related research

Keywords: Transactions data Censored data Tobit model Log-normal distribution Consumer credit Payment schedule;

References

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  1. Sanjiv Jaggia, 1997. "Alternative Forms of the Score Test for Heterogeneity in a Censored Exponential Model," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 79(2), pages 340-343, May.
  2. Drazen Prelec & George Loewenstein, 1998. "The Red and the Black: Mental Accounting of Savings and Debt," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 17(1), pages 4-28.
  3. Zikmund-Fisher, Brian J. & Parker, Andrew M., 1999. "Demand for rent-to-own contracts: a behavioral economic explanation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 199-216, February.
  4. Melenberg, B. & Soest, A.H.O. van, 1996. "Parametric and semi-parametric modelling of vacation expenditures," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-72214, Tilburg University.
  5. Pagan, Adrian & Vella, Frank, 1989. "Diagnostic Tests for Models Based on Individual Data: A Survey," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 4(S), pages S29-59, Supplemen.
  6. Chesher, Andrew & Irish, Margaret, 1987. "Residual analysis in the grouped and censored normal linear model," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1-2), pages 33-61.
  7. Richard H. Thaler, 2008. "Mental Accounting and Consumer Choice," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 27(1), pages 15-25, 01-02.
  8. Signe-Mary McKernan & James M. Lacko & Manoj Hastak, 2003. "Empirical Evidence on the Determinants of Rent-to-Own Use and Purchase Behavior," Economic Development Quarterly, , vol. 17(1), pages 33-52, February.
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Cited by:
  1. Michael Anderson & Sanjiv Jaggia, 2012. "Return, purchase, or skip? Outcome, duration, and consumer behavior in the rent-to-own market," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 43(1), pages 313-334, August.

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