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Fuzzy Math, Disclosure Regulation, and Market Outcomes: Evidence from Truth-in-Lending Reform

  • Victor Stango
  • Jonathan Zinman

We posit that consumer lenders shroud interest rates and market "low monthly payments" to price discriminate on "fuzzy math" or "payment/interest bias": consumers' pervasive tendency to underestimate borrowing costs when an interest rate is not disclosed. We test whether mandated disclosure changes lenders' ability to price discriminate using within-household interactions between payment/interest bias and policy-induced variation in the strength of Truth-in-Lending Act (TILA) enforcement across lenders and time. Weak TILA enforcement substantially widens the gap between rates paid by more-biased and less-biased borrowers. TILA compliance costs appear to increase interest rates overall, making the net effect on interest rates ambiguous. The Author 2011. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Society for Financial Studies. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oxfordjournals.org., Oxford University Press.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/rfs/hhq089
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Article provided by Society for Financial Studies in its journal Review of Financial Studies.

Volume (Year): 24 ()
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 506-534

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Handle: RePEc:oup:rfinst:v:24:y::i:2:p:506-534
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