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Testing for adverse selection and moral hazard in consumer loan markets

  • Wendy Edelberg
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    This paper explores the significance of unobservable default risk in mortgage and automobile loan markets. I develop and estimate a two-period model that allows for heterogeneous forms of simultaneous adverse selection and moral hazard. Controlling for income levels, loan size and risk aversion, I find robust evidence of adverse selection, with borrowers self-selecting into contracts with varying interest rates and collateral requirements. For example, ex-post higher-risk borrowers pledge less collateral and pay higher interest rates. Moreover, there is strongly suggestive evidence of moral hazard such that collateral is used to induce a borrower's effort to avoid repayment problems. Thus, loan terms may have a feedback effect on behavior. Also, higher-risk borrowers are more difficult to induce into exerting effort, explaining the counter-intuitive result that higher-risk borrowers sometimes pay lower interest rates than observably lower-risk borrowers.

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    Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series Finance and Economics Discussion Series with number 2004-09.

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    Date of creation: 2004
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    Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2004-09
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    1. Akerlof, George A, 1970. "The Market for 'Lemons': Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 84(3), pages 488-500, August.
    2. Paul S. Calem & Loretta J. Mester, . "Consumer Behavior and the Stickiness of CreditCard Interest Rates," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 03-94, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
    3. Chan, Yuk-Shee & Thakor, Anjan V, 1987. " Collateral and Competitive Equilibria with Moral Hazard and Private Information," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 42(2), pages 345-63, June.
    4. Fay, S. & Hurst, E. & White, M.J., 1998. "The Bankruptcy Decision: Does Stigma Matter?," Papers 98-01, Michigan - Center for Research on Economic & Social Theory.
    5. Mirrlees, J A, 1999. "The Theory of Moral Hazard and Unobservable Behaviour: Part I," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(1), pages 3-21, January.
    6. Bond, Eric W, 1982. "A Direct Test of the "Lemons" Model: The Market for Used Pickup Trucks," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(4), pages 836-40, September.
    7. Genesove, David, 1993. "Adverse Selection in the Wholesale Used Car Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(4), pages 644-65, August.
    8. Bester, Helmut, 1987. "The role of collateral in credit markets with imperfect information," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 887-899, June.
    9. Bester, Helmut, 1985. "Screening vs. Rationing in Credit Markets with Imperfect Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 850-55, September.
    10. Altman, Daniel & Cutler, David M & Zeckhauser, Richard J, 1998. "Adverse Selection and Adverse Retention," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 122-26, May.
    11. Igawa, Kazuhiro & Kanatas, George, 1990. "Asymmetric Information, Collateral, and Moral Hazard," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 25(04), pages 469-490, December.
    12. Chassagnon, A. & Chiappori, P.A., 1994. "Insurance Under Moral Hazard and Adverse Selection: The Case of Pure Competition," Papers 28, Laval - Laboratoire Econometrie.
    13. 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.
    14. Jones, Lawrence D, 1993. "Deficiency Judgments and the Exercise of the Default Option in Home Mortgage Loans," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(1), pages 115-38, April.
    15. Pierre-Andre Chiappori & Bernard Salanie, 2000. "Testing for Asymmetric Information in Insurance Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(1), pages 56-78, February.
    16. Rothschild, Michael & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1976. "Equilibrium in Competitive Insurance Markets: An Essay on the Economics of Imperfect Information," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 90(4), pages 630-49, November.
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