IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Testing for adverse selection and moral hazard in consumer loan markets


  • Wendy Edelberg


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Wendy Edelberg, 2004. "Testing for adverse selection and moral hazard in consumer loan markets," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2004-09, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2004-09

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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 836-840, September.
    2. Michael Rothschild & Joseph Stiglitz, 1976. "Equilibrium in Competitive Insurance Markets: An Essay on the Economics of Imperfect Information," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 90(4), pages 629-649.
    3. J. A. Mirrlees, 1999. "The Theory of Moral Hazard and Unobservable Behaviour: Part I," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(1), pages 3-21.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. Altman, Daniel & Cutler, David M & Zeckhauser, Richard J, 1998. "Adverse Selection and Adverse Retention," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 122-126, May.
    7. 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.
    8. Calem, Paul S & Mester, Loretta J, 1995. "Consumer Behavior and the Stickiness of Credit-Card Interest Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1327-1336, December.
    9. 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 345-363, June.
    10. Bester, Helmut, 1985. "Screening vs. Rationing in Credit Markets with Imperfect Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 850-855, September.
    11. 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 115-138, April.
    12. Bester, Helmut, 1987. "The role of collateral in credit markets with imperfect information," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 887-899, June.
    13. 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.
    14. Genesove, David, 1993. "Adverse Selection in the Wholesale Used Car Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(4), pages 644-665, August.
    15. Chassagnon, A. & Chiappori, P.A., 1994. "Insurance Under Moral Hazard and Adverse Selection: The Case of Pure Competition," Papers 28, Laval - Laboratoire Econometrie.
    16. George A. Akerlof, 1970. "The Market for "Lemons": Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(3), pages 488-500.
    17. Pradeep Dubey & John Geanakoplos, 2001. "Signalling and Default: Rothschild-Stiglitz Reconsidered," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1305, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    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.
    2. Xavier Gine & Jessica Goldberg & Dean Yang, 2012. "Credit Market Consequences of Improved Personal Identification: Field Experimental Evidence from Malawi," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(6), pages 2923-2954, October.
    3. 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.
    4. Pedrosa, Jose & Do, Quy-Toan, 2008. "How does geographic distance affect credit market access in Niger ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4772, The World Bank.
    5. Liran Einav & Jonathan Levin & William Adams, 2007. "Liquidity Constraints and Their Causes: Evidence from Subprime Lending," 2007 Meeting Papers 52, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    6. Ravn, Søren Hove, 2016. "Endogenous credit standards and aggregate fluctuations," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 89-111.
    7. Fu-Sheng Hung, 2009. "Explaining the nonlinear effects of financial development on economic growth," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 97(1), pages 41-65, May.
    8. Melzer, Brian T. & Morgan, Donald P., 2015. "Competition in a consumer loan market: Payday loans and overdraft credit," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 25-44.

    More about this item


    Loans; Personal;

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2004-09. 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: (Franz Osorio). General contact details of provider: .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.