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Does the Good Matter? Evidence on Moral Hazard and Adverse Selection from Consumer Credit Market

  • Alena Bicakova

Default rates on instalment loans vary with type of the good purchased. Using an Italian dataset of instalment loans between 1995-1999, we first show that the variation persists even after controlling for contract and individual-specific characteristics, and for the potential selection bias due to credit rationing. We explore whether the residual variation in the default rates across the different types of goods is due to unobserved individual heterogeneity (selection effect) or due to the effect of the specific characteristics of the good (good effect). We claim that the two effects may be interpreted as adverse selection and moral hazard. We exploit the data on multiple contracts per individual to disentangle the two effects, and find that most of the variation is explained by the selection effect. Individuals who buy motorcycles on credit are more likely to default on any loan, while those buying kitchen appliances, furniture and computers are more likely to repay, compared to average. We conclude that there is asymmetric information in the consumer credit market, mostly in the form of adverse selection.

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Paper provided by European University Institute in its series Economics Working Papers with number ECO2007/02.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:eui:euiwps:eco2007/02
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  1. Alessie, Rob & Hochguertel, Stefan & Weber, Guglielmo, 2001. "Consumer Credit: Evidence from Italian Micro Data," CEPR Discussion Papers 3071, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Charles Grant & Mario Padula, 2006. "Informal Credit Markets, Judicial Costs and Consumer Credit: Evidence from Firm Level Data," CSEF Working Papers 155, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  3. Wang, H.J. & White, M., 1998. "An Optimal Personal Bankruptcy Procedure and Proposed Reform," Papers 98-07, Michigan - Center for Research on Economic & Social Theory.
  4. Giuseppe Bertola & Stefan Hochguertel & Winfried Koeniger, 2005. "Dealer Pricing Of Consumer Credit ," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 46(4), pages 1103-1142, November.
  5. Elisabetta Iossa & Giuliana Palumbo, 2004. "Product quality, lender liability, and consumer credit," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(2), pages 331-343, April.
  6. Orazio P. Attanasio & Pinelopi Koujianou Goldberg & Ekaterini Kyriazidou, 2008. "Credit Constraints In The Market For Consumer Durables: Evidence From Micro Data On Car Loans," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 49(2), pages 401-436, 05.
  7. Luca Casolaro & Leonardo Gambacorta & Luigi Guiso, 2005. "Regulation, formal and informal enforcement and the development of the household loan market. Lessons from Italy," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 560, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  8. Michael E. Staten & John M. Barron & Andrew B. Chong, 2004. "The Emergence of Captive Finance Companies and Risk Segmentation of the Consumer Loan Market:Theory and Evidence," Econometric Society 2004 Far Eastern Meetings 584, Econometric Society.
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