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Elasticities of demand for consumer credit

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  • Dean Karlan
  • Jonathan Zinman

Abstract

The price elasticity of demand for credit has major implications for macroeconomics, finance, and development. We present estimates of this parameter derived from a randomized trial. The experiment was implemented by a consumer microfinance lender in South Africa and identifies demand curves that, while downward-sloping with respect to price, are flatter than recent estimates in both developing and developed countries throughout most of a wide price range. However, demand becomes highly price sensitive at higher-than-normal rates. We discuss several interpretations of this kink and present some related evidence. We also find that loan size is far more responsive to changes in loan maturity than to changes in interest rate. This pattern is more pronounced among lower income individuals, a comparative static that has been observed in the United States as well and is consistent with liquidity constraints that decrease with income.

Suggested Citation

  • Dean Karlan & Jonathan Zinman, 2005. "Elasticities of demand for consumer credit," Natural Field Experiments 00280, The Field Experiments Website.
  • Handle: RePEc:feb:natura:00280
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Bernard, Tanguy & Dercon, Stefan & Taffesse, Alemayehu Seyoum, 2011. "Beyond fatalism: An empirical exploration of self-efficacy and aspirations failure in Ethiopia," IFPRI discussion papers 1101, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    2. Dean Karlan & Jonathan Zinman, 2009. "Observing Unobservables: Identifying Information Asymmetries With a Consumer Credit Field Experiment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(6), pages 1993-2008, November.
    3. Marianne Bertrand & Dean Karlin & Sendhil Mullainathan & Eldar Shafir & Jonathan Zinman, 2005. "What's Psychology Worth? A Field Experiment in the Consumer Credit Market," NBER Working Papers 11892, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Briones, Roehlano, 2007. "Do Small Farmers Borrow Less when the Lending rate Increases? The Case of Rice Farming in the Philippines," MPRA Paper 6044, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Duflo, Esther & Glennerster, Rachel & Kremer, Michael, 2008. "Using Randomization in Development Economics Research: A Toolkit," Handbook of Development Economics, Elsevier.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. Marianne Bertrand & Dean Karlan & Sendhil Mullainathan & Eldar Shafir & Jonathan Zinman, 2010. "What's Advertising Content Worth? Evidence from a Consumer Credit Marketing Field Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(1), pages 263-306.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
    • D9 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics
    • E2 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment
    • G2 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development

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