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

Author

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  • Alan, Sule
  • Lóránth, Gyöngyi

Abstract

Using a unique panel data set from a UK credit card company, we analyze the interest rate sensitivity of subprime credit card borrowers. In addition to all individual transactions and loan terms, we also have access to details of a randomized interest rate experiment conducted by the lender on the existing (inframarginal) loans. Access to such information by academic researchers is rare. The data and the experimental design provide us with a clean identification of heterogenous interest rate sensitivities across borrower types within the subprime population. We find that subprime credit card borrowers generally do not reduce their demand for credit when subject to increases in interest rates. However, we estimate a number of interesting responses that suggest that subprime borrowers are not a homogenous group. The paper also contributes to the literature by demonstrating the importance of isolating exogenous variation in interest rates. We show that estimating a standard credit demand equation with the non-experimental variation in the data leads to severely biased estimates. This is true even when conditioning on a rich set of controls and individual fixed effects.

Suggested Citation

  • Alan, Sule & Lóránth, Gyöngyi, 2012. "Subprime Consumer Credit Demand: Evidence from a Lender's Pricing Experiment," CEPR Discussion Papers 9210, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9210
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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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    4. John List & Sally Sadoff & Mathis Wagner, 2011. "So you want to run an experiment, now what? Some simple rules of thumb for optimal experimental design," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 14(4), pages 439-457, November.
    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.
    10. Sule Alan & Martin Browning, 2010. "Estimating Intertemporal Allocation Parameters using Synthetic Residual Estimation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 77(4), pages 1231-1261.
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    Citations

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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. 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.
    4. W. Scott Frame & Larry Wall & Lawrence J. White, 2018. "Technological Change and Financial Innovation in Banking: Some Implications for FinTech," Working Papers 18-28, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. Lukas, M., 2019. "Relative prices and product substitution: Evidence from shocks to consumer credit interest rates," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Finance, Elsevier, vol. 21(C), pages 39-49.
    9. 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.
    10. Sung-Jin Cho & John Rust, 2015. "Precommitments for Financial Self-Control:Evidence from Credit Card Borrowing," 2015 Meeting Papers 33, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    11. 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.
    12. 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.
    13. Lukas, Moritz & Nöth, Markus, 2016. "Commitment and Borrower Heterogeneity: Evidence from Revolving Consumer Credit," VfS Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145870, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    subprime credit; randomized trials; liquidity constraints;
    All these keywords.

    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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