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Diagnosing Consumer Confusion and Sub-Optimal Shopping Effort: Theory and Mortgage-Market Evidence

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  • Susan E. Woodward
  • Robert E. Hall

Abstract

Mortgage loans are leading examples of transactions where experts on one side of the market take advantage of consumers' lack of knowledge and experience. We study the compensation that borrowers pay to mortgage brokers for assistance from application to closing. Two findings support the conclusion that confused borrowers overpay for brokers' services: (1) A model of effective shopping shows that borrowers sacrifice at least $1,000 by shopping from too few brokers. (2) Borrowers who compensate their brokers with both cash and a commission from the lender pay twice as much as similar borrowers who pay no cash.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16007.

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Date of creation: May 2010
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Publication status: published as Susan E. Woodward & Robert E. Hall, 2012. "Diagnosing Consumer Confusion and Sub-optimal Shopping Effort: Theory and Mortgage-Market Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(7), pages 3249-76, December.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16007

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  1. Antje Berndt & Burton Hollifield & Patrik Sandås, 2010. "The Role of Mortgage Brokers in the Subprime Crisis," NBER Chapters, in: Market Institutions and Financial Market Risk National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Marsha Courchane & David Nickerson, 1997. "Discrimination Resulting from Overage Practices," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer, vol. 11(1), pages 133-151, February.
  3. Ayres, Ian & Siegelman, Peter, 1995. "Race and Gender Discrimination in Bargaining for a New Car," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 304-21, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Justine S. Hastings & Ali Hortaçsu & Chad Syverson, 2013. "Advertising and Competition in Privatized Social Security: The Case of Mexico," NBER Working Papers 18881, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Paulina Restrepo-Echavarria & Antonella Tutino & Anton Cheremukhin, 2013. "A Theory of Targeted Search," 2013 Meeting Papers 664, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  3. Jason Allen & Robert Clark & Jean-François Houde, 2013. "The Effect of Mergers in Search Market: Evidence from the Canadian Mortgage Industry," NBER Working Papers 19126, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Jason Allen & Robert Clark & Jean-François Houde, 2012. "Price Competition and Concentration in Search and Negotiation Markets: Evidence from Mortgage Lending," Working Papers 12-4, Bank of Canada.
  5. Gene Amromin & Jennifer Huang & Clemens Sialm & Edward Zhong, 2011. "Complex Mortgages," NBER Working Papers 17315, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Greg Kaplan & Guido Menzio, 2014. "The Morphology of Price Dispersion," PIER Working Paper Archive 14-002, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  7. Jason Allen & Robert Clark & Jean-François Houde, 2012. "Price Negotiation in Differentiated Products Markets: Evidence from the Canadian Mortgage Market," Working Papers 12-30, Bank of Canada.
  8. Jason Allen & Robert Clark & Jean-François Houde, 2014. "Search Frictions and Market Power in Negotiated Price Markets," NBER Working Papers 19883, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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