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Explaining changes in the US credit card market: Lenders are using more information

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  • Davis, Andrew
  • Kim, Jiseob

Abstract

We examine two changes in the cross-sectional distribution of credit card contracts over time: the increasing variance in interest rates and the increasing variance in credit limits, using data from the 1989–2013 Survey of Consumer Finances. Within this dataset, we show that financial institutions seem to be collecting and using more consumer information when extending credit. We then develop a life-cycle model of lending using a novel contract structure reflecting modern credit cards, where interest rates and credit limits are jointly determined before actual borrowing takes place. Within the model, giving lenders more information on consumers generates realistic results along several dimensions. More information leads to better pricing, moving the market from a ‘pooling’ to a ‘separating’ equilibrium, generating the observed increase in variances, with the gains primarily going to young agents.

Suggested Citation

  • Davis, Andrew & Kim, Jiseob, 2017. "Explaining changes in the US credit card market: Lenders are using more information," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 76-92.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecmode:v:61:y:2017:i:c:p:76-92
    DOI: 10.1016/j.econmod.2016.11.025
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Kim, Jiseob & Lim, Taejun, 2021. "Cost-effective mortgage modification program to reduce mortgage defaults," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 220-241.
    2. Arango, Luis E. & Cardona-Sosa, Lina & Pedraza-Jiménez, Nataly, 2021. "The use of credit cards among low- and middle-income individuals in Colombia and the channels of monetary policy," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 150-169.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    G1; Personal finance; Credit cards; Unsecured credit; Lending; Financial information;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • G1 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets

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