IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Observing unobservables: Identifying information asymmetries with a consumer credit field experiment

  • Dean Karlan
  • Jonathan Zinman

Information asymmetries are important in theory but difficult to identify in practice. We estimate the empirical 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) the initial "offer interest rate" appearing on direct mail solicitations; 2) a "contract interest rate" equal to or less than the offer interest rate and revealed to the over 4,000 borrowers who agreed to the initial offer rate; and 3) a dynamic repayment incentive that extends preferential pricing on future loans to borrowers who remain 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. Specifically, 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 failures. We find evidence of both adverse selection (among women) and moral hazard (predominantly among men), and the findings suggest that about 20% of default is due to asymmetric information problems. This helps 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://s3.amazonaws.com/fieldexperiments-papers/papers/00283.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by The Field Experiments Website in its series Natural Field Experiments with number 00283.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:feb:natura:00283
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.fieldexperiments.com

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. Paul S. Calem & Loretta J. Mester, . "Consumer Behavior and the Stickiness of CreditCard Interest Rates," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 3-94, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
  2. Etienne Wasmer & Philippe Weil, 2004. "The Macroeconomics of Credit and Labor Markets Imperfections," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/8622, Sciences Po.
  3. Bernanke, Ben & Gertler, Mark, 1990. "Financial Fragility and Economic Performance," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(1), pages 87-114, February.
  4. Eaton, Jonathan & Gersovitz, Mark, 1981. "Debt with Potential Repudiation: Theoretical and Empirical Analysis," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(2), pages 289-309, April.
  5. De Meza, D. & Webb, D.C., 2000. "Advantageous Selection in Insurance Market," Discussion Papers 0007, Exeter University, Department of Economics.
  6. 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.
  7. Xavier Freixas & Jean-Charles Rochet, 1997. "Microeconomics of Banking," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262061937, August.
  8. Jaffee, Dwight M & Russell, Thomas, 1976. "Imperfect Information, Uncertainty, and Credit Rationing," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 90(4), pages 651-66, November.
  9. Gale, William G., 1990. "Federal lending and the market for credit," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 177-193, July.
  10. Beatriz Armendariz & Jonathan Morduch, 2007. "The Economics of Microfinance," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262512017, August.
  11. 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.
  12. Dilip Mookherjee & Debraj Ray, 2002. "Contractual Structure and Wealth Accumulation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 818-849, September.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Dean Karlan & Jonathan Zinman, 2005. "Elasticities of Demand for Consumer Credit," Working Papers 926, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  16. Wasmer, Etienne & Weil, Philippe, 2000. "The Macroeconomics of Labor and Credit Market Imperfections," IZA Discussion Papers 179, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  17. Xavier Gin� & Pamela Jakiela & Dean Karlan & Jonathan Morduch, 2010. "Microfinance Games," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 60-95, July.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. DeanS. Karlan, 2007. "Social connections and group banking," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(517), pages F52-F84, 02.
  21. Brad M. Barber & Terrance Odean, 2001. "Boys Will Be Boys: Gender, Overconfidence, And Common Stock Investment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(1), pages 261-292, February.
  22. Bruce Shearer, 2004. "Piece Rates, Fixed Wages and Incentives: Evidence from a Field Experiment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 71(2), pages 513-534, 04.
  23. de Meza, David & Webb, David C, 1987. "Too Much Investment: A Problem of Asymmetric Information," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 102(2), pages 281-92, May.
  24. Morduch, J., 1995. "Poverty and Vulnerability," Papers 477, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
  25. 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.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521793421 is not listed on IDEAS
  29. 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.
  30. 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.
  31. de Meza, David & Webb, David, 2000. "Does credit rationing imply insufficient lending?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(3), pages 215-234, November.
  32. R. Glenn Hubbard, 1998. "Capital-Market Imperfections and Investment," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 193-225, March.
  33. Parikshit Ghosh & Debraj Ray, 1999. "Information and Enforcement in Informal Credit Markets," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development 93, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
  34. Nidhiya Menon, 2004. "Consumption Smoothing in Micro Credit Programs," Development and Comp Systems 0403005, EconWPA.
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:feb:natura:00283. 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: (Joe Seidel)

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.