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Subprime Consumer Credit Demand: Evidence from a Lender's Pricing Experiment

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  • Sule Alan
  • Gyongyi Loranth

Abstract

Using a unique panel data set from a U.K. credit card company, we analyze the interest rate sensitivity of subprime credit card borrowers. In addition to all individual transactions and loan terms, we have access to details of a randomized interest rate experiment conducted by the lender on existing (inframarginal) loans. For the whole sample, we estimate a statistically significant £3.4 reduction in monthly credit demand in response to a five percentage point increase in interest rates. This aggregate response is small, but it masks very interesting heterogeneity in the sample. We find that only low-risk borrowers who fully utilize their credit cards lower their credit demand significantly when faced with an increase in interest rates. We also document that a five percentage point increase in interest rates generates significant additional revenue for the lender without inducing delinquency over a short horizon. The Author 2013. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Society for Financial Studies. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com., Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Sule Alan & Gyongyi Loranth, 2013. "Subprime Consumer Credit Demand: Evidence from a Lender's Pricing Experiment," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 26(9), pages 2353-2374.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:rfinst:v:26:y:2013:i:9:p:2353-2374
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. William Adams & Liran Einav & Jonathan Levin, 2009. "Liquidity Constraints and Imperfect Information in Subprime Lending," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 49-84, March.
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    5. Christopher A. Pissarides, 1978. "Liquidity Considerations in the Theory of Consumption," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 92(2), pages 279-296.
    6. Dehejia, Rajeev & Montgomery, Heather & Morduch, Jonathan, 2012. "Do interest rates matter? Credit demand in the Dhaka slums," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(2), pages 437-449.
    7. Rob Alessie & Stefan Hochguertel & Guglielmo Weber, 2005. "Consumer Credit: Evidence From Italian Micro Data," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(1), pages 144-178, March.
    8. Sule Alan, 2006. "Entry Costs and Stock Market Participation over the Life Cycle," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 9(4), pages 588-611, October.
    9. Dean S. Karlan & Jonathan Zinman, 2008. "Credit Elasticities in Less-Developed Economies: Implications for Microfinance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 1040-1068, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Cláudio Ribeiro de Lucinda & Rodrigo Luiz Vieira, 2011. "An Experimental Analysis of the Brazilian Personal Credit Market," Working Papers 10-2011, Universidade de São Paulo, Faculdade de Economia, Administração e Contabilidade de Ribeirão Preto.
    2. Lukas, Moritz, 2017. "Estimating interest rate elasticities in consumer credit," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 156(C), pages 155-158.
    3. W. Scott Frame & Larry D. Wall & Lawrence J. White, 2018. "Technological Change and Financial Innovation in Banking: Some Implications for Fintech," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2018-11, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    4. Helen Higgs & Andrew C. Worthington, 2011. "Price and income elasticity of Australian retail finance: An autoregressive distributed lag (ARDL) approach," Discussion Papers in Finance finance:201117, Griffith University, Department of Accounting, Finance and Economics.
    5. Edika G. Quispe-Torreblanca & Neil Stewart & John Gathergood & George Loewenstein, 2019. "The Red, the Black, and the Plastic: Paying Down Credit Card Debt for Hotels, Not Sofas," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 65(11), pages 5392-5410, November.
    6. Cho, Sung-Jin & Rust, John, 2012. "Does Zero Interest Work as An Important Marketing Tool?," Research Center for Price Dynamics Working Paper Series 5, Research Center for Price Dynamics, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    7. de Lucinda, Claudio Ribeiro & Vieira, Rodrigo Luiz, 2014. "Interest Rates and Informational Issues in the Credit Market: Experimental Evidence from Brazil," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 47-58.
    8. Dawsey, Amanda E., 2015. "State bankruptcy laws and the responsiveness of credit card demand," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 54-76.
    9. Bruno Ferman, 2016. "Reading the Fine Print: Information Disclosure in the Brazilian Credit Card Market," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 62(12), pages 3534-3548, December.
    10. Lukas, Moritz & Nöth, Markus, 2016. "Commitment and Borrower Heterogeneity: Evidence from Revolving Consumer Credit," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145870, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    11. Sumit Agarwal & Xudong An & Lawrence R. Cordell & Raluca Roman, 2020. "Bank Stress Test Results and Their Impact on Consumer Credit Markets," Working Papers 20-30, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    12. Sung-Jin Cho & John Rust, 2015. "Precommitments for Financial Self-Control:Evidence from Credit Card Borrowing," 2015 Meeting Papers 33, Society for Economic Dynamics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D11 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Theory
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance

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