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Advertising Expensive Mortgages

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Listed:
  • Umit G. Gurun
  • Gregor Matvos
  • Amit Seru

Abstract

We use a unique dataset that combines information on advertising by subprime lenders and mortgages originated by them from 2002 to 2007 to study the relationship between advertising and the nature of mortgages obtained by consumers. We exploit the richness of our data and measure the relative expensiveness of a given mortgage as the excess rate of a mortgage after accounting for a broad set of borrower, contract, and regional characteristics associated with a given mortgage--less expensive mortgages, all else equal, are better products from the perspective of the consumer. We find a strong positive relationship between the intensity of local advertising and the expensiveness of mortgages extended by lenders within a given region, with the relationship strongest for advertising through newspapers, the most heavily used channel for local advertising of mortgages. This pattern survives even after conditioning for a rich set of borrower, loan and region characteristics and exploiting differences in advertising within a given lender. Advertisers lend to consumers who, all else equal, default less, making it unlikely that our results are driven by unobservable borrower quality. We also exploit variation in mortgage advertising induced by the entry of Craigslist across different regions to demonstrate that the relation between advertising and expensiveness of mortgages is not likely to be spurious. We corroborate that advertising is most effective when targeted at groups that might be less informed about mortgages, such as the poor, the less educated and minorities. These findings are inconsistent with the "informative view" under which advertising allows consumers to find cheaper products, and instead support the "persuasive view" that advertising in the subprime mortgage market was used to steer consumers into expensive choices.

Suggested Citation

  • Umit G. Gurun & Gregor Matvos & Amit Seru, 2013. "Advertising Expensive Mortgages," NBER Working Papers 18910, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18910
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Gabriele Foà & Leonardo Gambacorta & Luigi Guiso & Paolo Emilio Mistrulli, 2015. "The Supply Side of Household Finance," EIEF Working Papers Series 1507, Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF), revised Jul 2015.
    2. Mark Egan & Gregor Matvos & Amit Seru, 2016. "The Market for Financial Adviser Misconduct," NBER Working Papers 22050, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Lint Barrage & Eric Chyn & Justine Hastings, 2014. "Advertising as Insurance or Commitment? Evidence from the BP Oil Spill," NBER Working Papers 19838, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Duggan, Mark & Starc, Amanda & Vabson, Boris, 2016. "Who benefits when the government pays more? Pass-through in the Medicare Advantage program," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 141(C), pages 50-67.
    5. Takeshi Murooka & Marco A. Schwarz, 2016. "The Timing of Choice-Enhancing Policies," CESifo Working Paper Series 5983, CESifo Group Munich.
    6. Maria Ana Vitorino & Ali Hortacsu & Elisabeth Honka, 2014. "Advertising, Consumer Awareness and Choice: Evidence from the U.S. Banking Industry," 2014 Meeting Papers 574, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    7. Rawley Z. Heimer & Alp Simsek, 2017. "Should Retail Investors' Leverage Be Limited?," NBER Working Papers 24176, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. repec:oup:restud:v:84:y::i:1:p:323-356. is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Adam M. Lavecchia, 2017. "Do ‘Catch-up Limits’ Raise Retirement Saving? Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity Design," Working Papers 1712E, University of Ottawa, Department of Economics.
    10. repec:oup:qjecon:v:132:y:2017:i:2:p:1019-1054. is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Grundl, Serafin J. & Kim, You Suk, 2017. "Consumer Mistakes and Advertising : The Case of Mortgage Refinancing," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2017-067, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    12. David S. Scharfstein & Adi Sunderam, 2013. "Concentration in Mortgage Lending, Refinancing Activity and Mortgage Rates," NBER Working Papers 19156, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Platteau, Jean-Philippe & De Bock, Ombeline & Gelade, Wouter, 2017. "The Demand for Microinsurance: A Literature Review," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 139-156.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E65 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Studies of Particular Policy Episodes
    • G18 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • L85 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Real Estate Services

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