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The Time-Inconsistency Factor: How Banks Adapt to their Mix of Savers

  • Carolina Laureti
  • Ariane Szafarz

This paper starts from a puzzle. On the one hand, the literature documents that a large proportion of poor people are ready to forgo interest on rigid – or commitment – savings accounts to discipline their future selves. On the other, our stylized facts from Bangladesh show that microfinance institutions pay a premium on commitment savings with respect to flexible savings. To address this puzzle, we build an equilibrium model in which a monopolistic bank offers flexible and commitment savings accounts to both rational and time-inconsistent agents. Two factors concur to explain why the bank may find it optimal to pay a commitment premium even though time-inconsistent savers do not necessarily demand one. First, the bank needs commitment accounts to meet its reserve requirements. Second, it cannot segment its clientele ex ante, and rational savers demand compensation for commitment. Last, we discuss the consequences of our findings from a regulatory perspective.

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Paper provided by ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles in its series Working Papers CEB with number 12-035.

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Length: 45 p.
Date of creation: 06 Dec 2012
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Publication status: Published by:
Handle: RePEc:sol:wpaper:2013/134499
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