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Present-Biased Preferences and Credit Card Borrowing

  • Stephan Meier
  • Charles Sprenger

Some individuals borrow extensively on their credit cards. This paper tests whether present-biased time preferences correlate with credit card borrowing. In a field study, we elicit individual time preferences with incentivized choice experiments, and match resulting time preference measures to individual credit reports and annual tax returns. The results indicate that present-biased individuals are more likely to have credit card debt, and to have significantly higher amounts of credit card debt, controlling for disposable income, other socio-demographics, and credit constraints. (JEL D12, D14, D91)

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/app.2.1.193
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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Applied Economics.

Volume (Year): 2 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 193-210

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:2:y:2010:i:1:p:193-210
Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.2.1.193
Contact details of provider: Web page: https://www.aeaweb.org/aej-applied
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  1. David B. Gross & Nicholas S. Souleles, 2002. "Do Liquidity Constraints and Interest Rates Matter for Consumer Behavior? Evidence from Credit Card Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(1), pages 149-185.
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  9. Tomomi Tanaka & Colin F. Camerer & Quang Nguyen, 2010. "Risk and Time Preferences: Linking Experimental and Household Survey Data from Vietnam," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(1), pages 557-71, March.
  10. David Laibson & Andrea Repetto & Jeremy Tobacman, 2007. "Estimating Discount Functions with Consumption Choices over the Lifecycle," NBER Working Papers 13314, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  12. Gine, Xavier & Karlan, Dean & Zinman, Jonathan, 2009. "Put your money where your butt is : a commitment contract for smoking cessation," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4985, The World Bank.
  13. Shane Frederick & George Loewenstein & Ted O'Donoghue, 2002. "Time Discounting and Time Preference: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 351-401, June.
  14. Paul Heidhues & Botond Koszegi, 2010. "Exploiting Naivete about Self-Control in the Credit Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(5), pages 2279-2303, December.
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  16. Dohmen, Thomas & Falk, Armin & Huffman, David B. & Sunde, Uwe & Schupp, Jürgen & Wagner, Gert G., 2005. "Individual Risk Attitudes: New Evidence from a Large, Representative, Experimentally-Validated Survey," IZA Discussion Papers 1730, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  17. Maribeth Coller & Melonie Williams, 1999. "Eliciting Individual Discount Rates," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 2(2), pages 107-127, December.
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  19. Carol C. Bertaut & Michael Haliassos, 2001. "Debt Revolvers for Self Control," University of Cyprus Working Papers in Economics 0208, University of Cyprus Department of Economics.
  20. Catherine Eckel & Cathleen Johnson & Claude Montmarquette, 2004. "Saving Decisions of the Working Poor: Short-and Long-Term Horizons," CIRANO Working Papers 2004s-45, CIRANO.
  21. Elisabet Rutstrom & Glenn Harrison & Melonie Williams & Morten Lau, 2006. "Eliciting risk and time preferences using field experiments: Some methodological issues," Artefactual Field Experiments 00063, The Field Experiments Website.
  22. Meier, Stephan & Sprenger, Charles, 2008. "Discounting Financial Literacy: Time Preferences and Participation in Financial Education Programs," IZA Discussion Papers 3507, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  23. Faruk Gul & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 2001. "Temptation and Self-Control," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(6), pages 1403-1435, November.
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