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Borrowing on the Wrong Credit Card? Evidence from Mexico

Author

Listed:
  • Alejandro Ponce
  • Enrique Seira
  • Guillermo Zamarripa

Abstract

We establish new facts about the way consumers allocate debt among their credit cards using data for a representative sample of cardholders in Mexico. We find that relative prices are weak predictors of the allocation of debt, purchases, and payments. Consumers allocate a large fraction of their debt to high-interest cards, incurring a cost of 31 percent above the minimum. Using an experiment, we find that consumers do not substitute in the price margin, although they respond to salient temporary low-interest offers. We conclude that limited attention and mental accounting best rationalize our results and discuss implications for the market.

Suggested Citation

  • Alejandro Ponce & Enrique Seira & Guillermo Zamarripa, 2017. "Borrowing on the Wrong Credit Card? Evidence from Mexico," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(4), pages 1335-1361, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:107:y:2017:i:4:p:1335-61
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.20120273
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O16 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance

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