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Elasticities of demand for consumer credit

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  • Dean Karlan
  • Jonathan Zinman

Abstract

The price elasticity of demand for credit has major implications for macroeconomics, finance, and development. We present estimates of this parameter derived from a randomized trial. The experiment was implemented by a consumer microfinance lender in South Africa and identifies demand curves that, while downward-sloping with respect to price, are flatter than recent estimates in both developing and developed countries throughout most of a wide price range. However, demand becomes highly price sensitive at higher-than-normal rates. We discuss several interpretations of this kink and present some related evidence. We also find that loan size is far more responsive to changes in loan maturity than to changes in interest rate. This pattern is more pronounced among lower income individuals, a comparative static that has been observed in the United States as well and is consistent with liquidity constraints that decrease with income.

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Paper provided by The Field Experiments Website in its series Natural Field Experiments with number 00280.

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Date of creation: 2005
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Handle: RePEc:feb:natura:00280

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  21. Marianne Bertrand & Dean S. Karlan & Sendhil Mullainathan & Eldar Shafir & Jonathan Zinman, 2005. "What's Psychology Worth? A Field Experiment in the Consumer Credit Market," Working Papers, Economic Growth Center, Yale University 918, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
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Cited by:
  1. Stefan Dercon & Tanguy Bernard and Alemayehu Seyoum Taffesse, 2011. "Beyond fatalism - an empirical exploration of self-efficacy and aspirations failure in Ethiopia," Economics Series Working Papers CSAE WPS/2011-03, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  2. Dean Karlan & Jonathan Zinman, 2005. "Observing unobservables: identifying information asymmetries with a consumer-credit field experiment," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago 961, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  3. Helen Higgs & Andrew C. Worthington, 2011. "Price and income elasticity of Australian retail finance: An autoregressive distributed lag (ARDL) approach," Discussion Papers in Finance finance:201117, Griffith University, Department of Accounting, Finance and Economics.
  4. Marianne Bertrand & Dean Karlin & Sendhil Mullainathan & Eldar Shafir & Jonathan Zinman, 2005. "What's Psychology Worth? A Field Experiment in the Consumer Credit Market," NBER Working Papers 11892, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Esther Duflo & Rachel Glennerster & Michael Kremer, 2006. "Using Randomization in Development Economics Research: A Toolkit," NBER Technical Working Papers 0333, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Marianne Bertrand & Sendhil Mullainathan & Dean Karlan & Eldar Shafir & Jonathan Zinman, 2009. "What's Advertising Content Worth? Evidence from a Consumer Credit Marketing Field Experiment," Working Papers, Economic Growth Center, Yale University 968, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  7. Briones, Roehlano, 2007. "Do Small Farmers Borrow Less when the Lending rate Increases? The Case of Rice Farming in the Philippines," MPRA Paper 6044, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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