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Behavioral Messages and Debt Repayment

Author

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  • Giorgia Barboni
  • Juan Camilo Cárdenas
  • Nicolás de Roux

Abstract

We use a randomized experiment involving 7,029 late-paying clients of a large Colombian bank to compare the effects on loan delinquency of text messages that encourage repayment through different behavioral angles { increased attention, reciprocity, social norms, moral norms, and environmental and sustainability concerns. We find that receiving a behavioral message decreases borrowers' average likelihood to be late by 4%. The effects are more pronounced when messages leverage social norms. Heterogeneity analysis shows that our results are concentrated among late- paying borrowers with a good credit history. We also find evidence that customers who are late on unsecured loan products respond more to the messages. Our intervention provides novel evidence that behavioral messages are most effective when borrowers are marginally struggling to repay and have preferences to be on a good repayment track. In a second experiment pushing the same messages to 8,019 on-time borrowers, we find precisely estimated zero effects, suggesting that these types of messages may not be the right tool to prevent on-time borrowers from falling into loan delinquency.

Suggested Citation

  • Giorgia Barboni & Juan Camilo Cárdenas & Nicolás de Roux, 2022. "Behavioral Messages and Debt Repayment," Documentos CEDE 20257, Universidad de los Andes, Facultad de Economía, CEDE.
  • Handle: RePEc:col:000089:020257
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Loan Delinquency; Behavioral Messages; Personal loans; Field Experiments;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • G51 - Financial Economics - - Household Finance - - - Household Savings, Borrowing, Debt, and Wealth
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making

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