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Determinants of Short-term Consumer Lending Interest Rates

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  • Richard W. Evans

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Brigham Young University)

Abstract

One of the most striking characteristics of the short-term consumer lending industry is the high level of interest rates. This study tests a theory of consumer lending interest rates in which fixed processing costs of short-term loans are the main determinant of interest-rate levels. I perform empirical tests using store-level data from payday and title lenders in the State of Utah from 2010, combined with zip-code level socioeconomic data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Internal Revenue Service representing potential borrowers. I find that competition among lenders reduces average interest rates and that riskiness of borrowers, as measured by defaults, increases average interest rates. I also fnd that short-term consumer interest rates have a nonlinear and significant relationship to average income, consistent with anecdotal evidence from the payday lending industry but inconsistent with the hypothesis that short-term consumer lenders prey upon the poor. Lastly, I find no evidence that race or eduction affect the short-term lenders' interest rates.

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File URL: http://economics.byu.edu/Documents/Macro%20Lab/Working%20Paper%20Series/BYUMCL2012-07.pdf
File Function: First version, 2012
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Brigham Young University, Department of Economics, BYU Macroeconomics and Computational Laboratory in its series BYU Macroeconomics and Computational Laboratory Working Paper Series with number 2012-07.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:byu:byumcl:201207

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Web page: https://economics.byu.edu/Pages/MacroLab/Home.aspx
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Keywords: Consumer lending; interest rates; payday lenders;

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  1. Edward C. Lawrence & Gregory Elliehausen, 2008. "A Comparative Analysis Of Payday Loan Customers," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 26(2), pages 299-316, 04.
  2. Scott Carrell & Jonathan Zinman, 2008. "In harm’s way? Payday loan access and military personnel performance," Working Papers 08-18, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  3. Charles Calomiris & Thanavut Pornrojnangkool, 2009. "Relationship Banking and the Pricing of Financial Services," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer, vol. 35(3), pages 189-224, June.
  4. Sumit Agarwal & Paige M. Skiba & Jeremy Tobacman, 2009. "Payday Loans and Credit Cards: New Liquidity and Credit Scoring Puzzles?," NBER Working Papers 14659, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Brian T. Melzer, 2011. "The Real Costs of Credit Access: Evidence from the Payday Lending Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(1), pages 517-555.
  6. Burkey, Mark L. & Simkins, Scott P., 2004. "Factors affecting the location of payday lending and traditional banking services in North Carolina," MPRA Paper 36043, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. H. Damar, 2009. "Why Do Payday Lenders Enter Local Markets? Evidence from Oregon," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer, vol. 34(2), pages 173-191, March.
  8. Paul A. Samuelson, 1958. "An Exact Consumption-Loan Model of Interest with or without the Social Contrivance of Money," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 66, pages 467.
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