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Limited and varying consumer attention: evidence from shocks to the salience of bank overdraft fees

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Author Info

  • Victor Stango
  • Jonathan Zinman

Abstract

The authors explore dynamics of limited attention in the $35 billion market for checking overdrafts, using survey content as shocks to the salience of overdraft fees. Conditional on selection into surveys, individuals who face overdraft-related questions are less likely to incur a fee in the survey month. Taking multiple overdraft surveys builds a "stock" of attention that reduces overdrafts for up to two years. The effects are significant among consumers with lower education and financial literacy. Consumers avoid overdrafts not by increasing balances but by making fewer debit transactions and cancelling automatic recurring withdrawals. The results raise new questions about consumer financial protection policy.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia in its series Working Papers with number 11-17.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedpwp:11-17

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Keywords: Overdrafts ; Consumer behavior;

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References

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  1. Nicola Lacetera & Devin G. Pope & Justin R. Sydnor, 2012. "Heuristic Thinking and Limited Attention in the Car Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(5), pages 2206-36, August.
  2. Kfir Eliaz & Ran Spiegler, 2011. "Consideration Sets and Competitive Marketing," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 78(1), pages 235-262.
  3. 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 918, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  4. Kolko, Jed, 2010. "A new measure of US residential broadband availability," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 132-143, April.
  5. Xavier Gabaix & David Laibson, 2005. "Shrouded Attributes, Consumer Myopia, and Information Suppression in Competitive Markets," NBER Working Papers 11755, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Dean Karlan & Margaret McConnell & Sendhil Mullainathan & Jonathan Zinman, 2010. "Getting to the Top of Mind: How Reminders Increase Saving," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2010-2, Center for Retirement Research.
  7. Austan Goolsbee, 1998. "In a World Without Borders: The Impact of Taxes on Internet Commerce," NBER Working Papers 6863, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Victor Stango & Jonathan Zinman, 2009. "What Do Consumers Really Pay on Their Checking and Credit Card Accounts? Explicit, Implicit, and Avoidable Costs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 424-29, May.
  9. Jonathan Zinman, 2007. "Where is the missing credit card debt? Clues and implications," Payment Cards Center Discussion Paper 07-11, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  10. Marianne Bertrand & Dean Karlan & Sendhil Mullainathan & Eldar Shafir & Jonathan Zinman, 2010. "What's Advertising Content Worth? Evidence from a Consumer Credit Marketing Field Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 125(1), pages 263-305, February.
  11. Jeffrey T. Prince, 2008. "Repeat Purchase amid Rapid Quality Improvement: Structural Estimation of Demand for Personal Computers," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17(1), pages 1-33, 03.
  12. Sumit Agarwal & John C. Driscoll & Xavier Gabaix & David Laibson, 2008. "Learning in the Credit Card Market," NBER Working Papers 13822, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Citations

Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Inattention and bank overdrafts
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2011-06-21 13:48:00
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Cited by:
  1. Armstrong, Mark & Vickers, John, 2012. "Consumer protection and contingent charges," MPRA Paper 37239, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Englmaier, Florian & Roider, Andreas & Sunde, Uwe, 2012. "The Role of Salience in Performance Schemes: Evidence from a Field Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 6448, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Stephanie M. Wilshusen, 2011. "Meeting the demand for debt relief," Payment Cards Center Discussion Paper 11-04, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  4. Chong, Alberto & Karlan, Dean & Shapiro, Jeremy & Zinman, Jonathan, 2013. "(Ineffective) messages to encourage recycling : evidence from a randomized evaluation in Peru," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6548, The World Bank.
  5. Bresser, J.R. de, 2013. "Between goals and expectations. Essays on pensions and retirement," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-5930485, Tilburg University.
  6. Felipe Kast & Stephan Meier & Dina Pomeranz, 2012. "Under-Savers Anonymous: Evidence on Self-Help Groups and Peer Pressure as a Savings Commitment Device," NBER Working Papers 18417, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Ben Gilbert & Joshua S. Graff Zivin, 2013. "Dynamic Salience with Intermittent Billing: Evidence from Smart Electricity Meters," NBER Working Papers 19510, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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  1. Economic Logic blog

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