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Systematic mistakes in the mortgage market and lack of financial sophistication

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  • Agarwal, Sumit
  • Ben-David, Itzhak
  • Yao, Vincent

Abstract

Institutions often offer a menu of contracts to consumers in an attempt to create a separating equilibrium that reveals borrower types and provides better pricing. We test the effectiveness of a specific set of contracts in the mortgage market: mortgage points. Points allow borrowers to exchange an upfront amount for a decrease in the mortgage rate. We document that, on average, points takers lose about $700. Also, points takers are less financially savvy (less educated, older), and they make mistakes on other dimensions (e.g., inefficiently refinancing their mortgages). Overall, our results show that borrowers overestimate how long they will stay with the mortgage.

Suggested Citation

  • Agarwal, Sumit & Ben-David, Itzhak & Yao, Vincent, 2017. "Systematic mistakes in the mortgage market and lack of financial sophistication," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 123(1), pages 42-58.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jfinec:v:123:y:2017:i:1:p:42-58 DOI: 10.1016/j.jfineco.2016.01.028
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Bianchi, Milo, 2017. "Financial Literacy and Portfolio Dynamics," TSE Working Papers 17-808, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Discount points; Mortgage decision making; Refinancing; Leverage; Financial literacy; Household finance; Inattentiveness;

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • D18 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Protection
    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages

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