IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Observing Unobservables: Identifying Information Asymmetries with a Consumer Credit Field Experiment

  • Karlan, Dean S.
  • Zinman, Jonathan

Information asymmetries are important in theory but difficult to identify in practice. We estimate the presence and importance of adverse selection and moral hazard in a consumer credit market using a new field experiment methodology. We randomized 58,000 direct mail offers issued by a major South African lender along three dimensions: 1) an initial "offer interest rate" featured on a direct mail solicitation; 2) a "contract interest rate" that was revealed only after a borrower agreed to the initial offer rate; and 3) a dynamic repayment incentive that extended preferential pricing on future loans to borrowers who remained in good standing. These three randomizations, combined with complete knowledge of the Lender's information set, permit identification of specific types of private information problems. Our setup distinguishes adverse selection from moral hazard effects on repayment, and thereby generates unique evidence on the existence and magnitudes of specific credit market frictions. We find evidence of moral hazard and weaker evidence for adverse selection. A rough calibration suggests that perhaps 7% to 16% of default is due to asymmetric information problems. Asymmetric information may help explain the prevalence of credit constraints even in a market that specializes in financing high-risk borrowers at very high rates.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=6182
Download Restriction: CEPR Discussion Papers are free to download for our researchers, subscribers and members. If you fall into one of these categories but have trouble downloading our papers, please contact us at subscribers@cepr.org

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 6182.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: Mar 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6182
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Centre for Economic Policy Research, 77 Bastwick Street, London EC1V 3PZ.

Phone: 44 - 20 - 7183 8801
Fax: 44 - 20 - 7183 8820

Order Information: Email:


References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Ben Bernanke & Mark Gertler, 1987. "Financial Fragility and Economic Performance," NBER Working Papers 2318, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Ausubel, Lawrence M, 1991. "The Failure of Competition in the Credit Card Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 50-81, March.
  3. Erik Hurst & Annamaria Lusardi, 2004. "Liquidity Constraints, Household Wealth, and Entrepreneurship," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(2), pages 319-347, April.
  4. Pierre-André Chiappori & Bernard Salanié, 2002. "Testing Contract Theory : A Survey of Some Recent Work," Working Papers 2002-11, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  5. Beatriz Armendariz & Jonathan Morduch, 2007. "The Economics of Microfinance," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262512017.
  6. Wasmer, Etienne & Weil, Philippe, 2002. "The Macroeconomics of Labour and Credit Market Imperfections," CEPR Discussion Papers 3334, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Jonathan Eaton & Mark Gersovitz, 1981. "Debt with Potential Repudiation: Theoretical and Empirical Analysis," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 48(2), pages 289-309.
  8. Mark M. Pitt & Shahidur R. Khandker, 1998. "The Impact of Group-Based Credit Programs on Poor Households in Bangladesh: Does the Gender of Participants Matter?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(5), pages 958-996, October.
  9. Paul S. Calem & Loretta J. Mester, 1995. "Consumer behavior and the stickiness of credit card interest rates," Working Papers 95-10, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  10. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Andrew F. Newman, 1990. "Occupational Choice and the Process of Development," Discussion Papers 911, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  11. Amy Finkelstein & Kathleen McGarry, 2006. "Multiple Dimensions of Private Information: Evidence from the Long-Term Care Insurance Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(4), pages 938-958, September.
  12. Nidhiya Menon, 2004. "Consumption Smoothing in Micro Credit Programs," Development and Comp Systems 0403005, EconWPA.
  13. David de Meza & David C. Webb, 1987. "Too Much Investment: A Problem of Asymmetric Information," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 102(2), pages 281-292.
  14. Gale, William G., 1990. "Federal lending and the market for credit," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 177-193, July.
  15. Etienne Wasmer & Philippe Weil, 2004. "The Macroeconomics of Credit and Labor Markets Imperfections," Post-Print hal-01020132, HAL.
  16. R. Glenn Hubbard, 1997. "Capital-Market Imperfections and Investment," NBER Working Papers 5996, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Xavier Freixas & Jean-Charles Rochet, 1997. "Microeconomics of Banking," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262061937.
  18. Dilip Mookherjee & Debraj Ray, 2002. "Contractual Structure and Wealth Accumulation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 818-849, September.
  19. Dean Karlan & Jonathan Zinman, 2005. "Elasticities of Demand for Consumer Credit," Working Papers 926, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  20. Dean Karlan & Xavier Gine & Jonathan Morduch & Pamela Jakiela, 2006. "Microfinance Games," Working Papers 936, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  21. De Meza, D. & Webb, D.C., 2000. "Advantageous Selection in Insurance Market," Discussion Papers 0007, Exeter University, Department of Economics.
  22. Morduch, J., 1995. "Poverty and Vulnerability," Papers 477, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
  23. Bester,Helmut Hellwig,Martin, 1987. "Moral hazard and equilibrium credit rationing: An overview of the issues," Discussion Paper Serie A 125, University of Bonn, Germany.
  24. DeanS. Karlan, 2007. "Social connections and group banking," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(517), pages F52-F84, 02.
  25. Parikshit Ghosh & Debraj Ray, 2016. "Information and Enforcement in Informal Credit Markets," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 83(329), pages 59-90, 01.
  26. Stiglitz, Joseph E & Weiss, Andrew, 1981. "Credit Rationing in Markets with Imperfect Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 393-410, June.
  27. Dwight M. Jaffee & Thomas Russell, 1976. "Imperfect Information, Uncertainty, and Credit Rationing," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 90(4), pages 651-666.
  28. Elyasiani, Elyas & Goldberg, Lawrence G., 2004. "Relationship lending: a survey of the literature," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 56(4), pages 315-330.
  29. Banerjee, Abhijit & Duflo, Esther, 2004. "Do Firms Want to Borrow More? Testing Credit Constraints Using a Directed Lending Program," CEPR Discussion Papers 4681, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  30. Bruce Shearer, 2004. "Piece Rates, Fixed Wages and Incentives: Evidence from a Field Experiment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(2), pages 513-534.
  31. Brad M. Barber & Terrance Odean, 2001. "Boys will be Boys: Gender, Overconfidence, and Common Stock Investment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(1), pages 261-292.
  32. Robert Cressy & Otto Toivanen, 2001. "Is there adverse selection in the credit market?," Venture Capital, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 3(3), pages 215-238, July.
  33. de Meza, David & Webb, David, 2000. "Does credit rationing imply insufficient lending?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(3), pages 215-234, November.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6182. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.