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Dealer Pricing of Consumer Credit

  • Bertola, Giuseppe
  • Hochguertel, Stefan
  • Koeniger, Winfried

Interest rates on consumer lending are lower when funds are tied to purchase of a durable good than when they are made available on an unconditional basis. Further, dealers often choose to bear the financial cost of their customers’ credit purchases. This Paper interprets this phenomenon in terms of monopolistic price discrimination. We characterize consumers’ intertemporal consumption decisions when their borrowing and lending rates are different not only from each other, but also from the internal rate of return of financing terms for a specific durable good purchase. A stylized model offers a closed-form characterization of purchase decisions as a function of the amount and timing of consumers’ resources, of the spread between the borrowing and lending rates, and of the pricing of cash and credit purchases. We then study theoretical and empirical relationships between the structure of financial markets, the distribution of potential customers’ current and future income, and incentives for durable-good dealers to price-discriminate by subsidizing their liquidity-constrained customers’ installment-payment terms. Our empirical analysis takes advantage of a rich set of installment-credit and personal-loan data, which offer considerable support for the assumptions and implications of our theoretical perspective.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 3160.

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Date of creation: Jan 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3160
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References listed on IDEAS
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  1. 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, 03.
  2. repec:oup:qjecon:v:92:y:1978:i:2:p:279-96 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Rob Alessie & Michael Devereux & Guglielmo Weber, 1993. "Intertemporal consumption, durables and liquidity constraints: a cohort analysis," IFS Working Papers W93/07, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  4. Orazio P. Attanasio, 1994. "The Intertemporal Allocation of Consumption: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 4811, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. repec:oup:restud:v:44:y:1977:i:3:p:561-72 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. F. Thomas Juster & Robert P. Shay, 1964. "Consumer Sensitivity to Finance Rates: An Empirical and Analytical Investigation," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number just64-2, December.
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