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Does the Good Matter? Evidence on Moral Hazard and Adverse Selection from Consumer Credit Market

  • Alena Bicakova

    ()

    (Finance and Consumption Programme, European University Institute)

Default rates on instalment loans vary with type of the good purchased. Using an Italian dataset of instalment loans between 1995-1999, we first show that the variation persists even after controlling for contract and individual-specific characteristics, and for the potential selection bias due to credit rationing. We explore whether the residual variation in default rates across different types of goods is due to unobserved individual heterogeneity (selection effect) or due to the effect of the specific characteristics of the good (good effect). We claim that the two effects may be interpreted as adverse selection and moral hazard. We exploit the data on multiple contracts per individual to disentangle the two effects, and find that both contribute to the residual variation. The selection effect, however, is more prevalent: individuals who buy motorcycles on credit are more likely to default on any loan, while those buying kitchen appliances, furniture and computers are more likely to repay, compared to average. The good effect is present only for two goods: new cars, which increase the incentive to repay, and mobile phones, which reduce it. We conclude that there is asymmetric information in the consumer credit market, in the form of both adverse selection and moral hazard.

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Article provided by GDE (Giornale degli Economisti e Annali di Economia), Bocconi University in its journal Giornale degli Economisti e Annali di Economia.

Volume (Year): 66 (2007)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 29-66

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Handle: RePEc:gde:journl:gde_v66_n1_p29-66
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  1. Luca Casolaro & Leonardo Gambacorta & Luigi Guiso, 2005. "Regulation, formal and informal enforcement and the development of the household loan market. Lessons from Italy," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 560, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  2. Orazio Attanasio & Pinelopi K. Goldberg & Ekaterini Kyriazidou, 2000. "Credit Constraints in the Market for Consumer Durables: Evidence from Micro Data on Car Loans," NBER Working Papers 7694, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Alessie, Rob & Hochguertel, Stefan & Weber, Guglielmo, 2001. "Consumer Credit: Evidence from Italian Micro Data," CEPR Discussion Papers 3071, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Bertola, Giuseppe & Hochguertel, Stefan & Koeniger, Winfried, 2002. "Dealer Pricing of Consumer Credit," IZA Discussion Papers 440, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Wang, Hung-Jen & White, Michelle J, 2000. "An Optimal Personal Bankruptcy Procedure and Proposed Reforms," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(1), pages 255-86, January.
  6. Elisabetta Iossa & Giuliana Palumbo, 2004. "Product quality, lender liability, and consumer credit," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(2), pages 331-343, April.
  7. Charles Grant & Mario Padula, 2006. "Informal Credit Markets, Judicial Costs and Consumer Credit: Evidence from Firm Level Data," CSEF Working Papers 155, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  8. Michael E. Staten & John M. Barron & Andrew B. Chong, 2004. "The Emergence of Captive Finance Companies and Risk Segmentation of the Consumer Loan Market:Theory and Evidence," Econometric Society 2004 Far Eastern Meetings 584, Econometric Society.
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