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The supply side of household finance


  • Gabriele Foà

    () (Yale University)

  • Leonardo Gambacorta

    () (Bank for International Settlements)

  • Luigi Guiso

    () (Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance)

  • Paolo Emilio Mistrulli

    () (Bank of Italy)


We propose a new, data-based test for the presence of biased financial advice when households choose between fixed and adjustable rate mortgages. If households are wary, the relative cost of the two types should be a sufficient statistic for a household contract choice: the attributes of the bank that makes the loan should play no role. If households rely on banks' advice to guide their choice, banks may be tempted to bias their counsel to their own advantage. In this case bank-specific supply characteristics will play a role in the household's choice above any role they play through relative prices. Testing this hypothesis on a sample of 1.6 million mortgages originated in Italy between 2004 and 2010, we find that the choice between adjustable and fixed rates is significantly affected by change in banks' supply factors, especially in periods during which banks do not change the relative price of the two mortgage types. This supports the view that banks are able to affect customers' mortgage choices not only by pricing but also through an advice channel.

Suggested Citation

  • Gabriele Foà & Leonardo Gambacorta & Luigi Guiso & Paolo Emilio Mistrulli, 2015. "The supply side of household finance," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 1044, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  • Handle: RePEc:bdi:wptemi:td_1044_15

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Michael Richter, 2017. "Asymmetric Effects on Financial Cycles in a Monetary Union with Diverging Country Preferences for Variable- and Fixed-Rate Mortgages," Review of Economics & Finance, Better Advances Press, Canada, vol. 7, pages 19-36, February.
    2. Philippon, Thomas, 2016. "The FinTech Opportunity," CEPR Discussion Papers 11409, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Vittoria, Cerasi & Sebastian, Deininger & Leonardo, Gambacorta & Tommaso, Oliviero, 2017. "How post-crisis regulation has affected bank CEO compensation," Working Papers 365, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised 28 Apr 2017.
    4. van Ooijen, Raun & van Rooij, Maarten C.J., 2016. "Mortgage risks, debt literacy and financial advice," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 201-217.
    5. Silvia Del Prete & Cristina Demma & Paola Rossi, 2017. "From few to many: product differentiation in the Italian mortgage market," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 383, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.

    More about this item


    mortgage choice; financial advice; household finance;

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • E43 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Interest Rates: Determination, Term Structure, and Effects
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages

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