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Exploiting Naivete about Self-Control in the Credit Market

  • Paul Heidhues
  • Botond Koszegi

We analyze contract choices, loan-repayment behavior, and welfare in a model of a competitive credit market when borrowers have a taste for immediate gratification. Consistent with many credit cards and subprime mortgages, for most types of nonsophisticated borrowers the baseline repayment terms are cheap, but they are also inefficiently front loaded and delays require paying large penalties. Although credit is for future consumption, nonsophisticated consumers overborrow, pay the penalties, and back load repayment, suffering large welfare losses. Prohibiting large penalties for deferring small amounts of repayment--akin to recent regulations in the US credit-card and mortgage markets--can raise welfare. (JEL D14, D18, D49, D86)

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/aer.100.5.2279
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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 100 (2010)
Issue (Month): 5 (December)
Pages: 2279-2303

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:100:y:2010:i:5:p:2279-2303
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