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Subprime Consumer Credit Demand: Evidence from a Lender's Pricing Experiment

  • Sule Alan

    ()

    (Faculty of Economics and CFAP University of Cambridge, UK and Koc University, Turkey)

  • Ruxandra Dumitrescu

    (Faculty of Economics and CFAP University of Cambridge, UK)

  • Gyongyi Loranth

    (Faculty of Business, Economics and Statistics University of Vienna and CEPR)

We test the interest rate sensitivity of subprime credit card borrowers using a unique panel data set from a UK credit card company. We were given details of a randomized interest rate experiment conducted by the lender between October 2006 and January 2007. Access to such information is rare. We first calibrate an intertemporal consumption model to show that the experimental design has sufficient statistical power to detect economically plausible responses among borrowers. We then find that individuals who tend to utilize their credit limits fully do not reduce their demand for credit when subject to increases in interest rates as high as 3 percentage points. This finding is naturally interpreted as evidence of binding liquidity constraints. We also demonstrate the importance of isolating exogenous variation in interest rates when estimating credit demand elasticities. We show that estimating a standard credit demand equation with the nonexperimental variation in the data leads to severely biased estimates. This is true even when conditioning on a rich set of controls and individual fixed effects.

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File URL: http://eaf.ku.edu.tr/sites/eaf.ku.edu.tr/files/erf_wp_1105.pdf
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Paper provided by Koc University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum in its series Koç University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum Working Papers with number 1105.

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Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:koc:wpaper:1105
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  1. Sule Alan, 2005. "Entry Costs and Stock Market Participation Over the Life Cycle," Working Papers 2005_1, York University, Department of Economics.
  2. Orazio Attanasio & James Banks & Costas Meghir & Guglielmo Weber, 1995. "Humps and bumps in lifetime consumption," IFS Working Papers W95/14, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  3. Rob Alessie & Stefan Hochguertel & Guglielmo Weber, 2005. "Consumer Credit: Evidence From Italian Micro Data," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(1), pages 144-178, 03.
  4. Dean S. Karlan & Jonathan Zinman, 2008. "Credit Elasticities in Less-Developed Economies: Implications for Microfinance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 1040-68, June.
  5. John A. List & Sally Sadoff & Mathis Wagner, 2010. "So you want to run an experiment, now what? Some Simple Rules of Thumb for Optimal Experimental Design," CeRP Working Papers 94, Center for Research on Pensions and Welfare Policies, Turin (Italy).
  6. 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.
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