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Mental accounting in the housing market

  • Johan Almenberg
  • Artashes Karapetyan

We identify a consumer bias with regard to different sources of debt-financing. Less salient debt may generate psychological benefits.This should be weighed against the possible economic costs of a suboptimal capital structure, but low levels of financial literacy make it unlikely that all households perceive the full economic costs. As a result there is a bias in favour of less salient debt. In a market with limited scope for arbitrage this consumer bias is likely to generate inefficiencies. We examine such a market in both theory and practice. The predictions of our model are given strong support by market data.

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Paper provided by Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich in its series IEW - Working Papers with number 453.

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Date of creation: Nov 2009
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Handle: RePEc:zur:iewwpx:453
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  1. Brunnermeier, Markus K & Julliard, Christian, 2007. "Money Illusion and Housing Frenzies," CEPR Discussion Papers 6183, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  13. Soman, Dilip, 2001. " Effects of Payment Mechanism on Spending Behavior: The Role of Rehearsal and Immediacy of Payments," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(4), pages 460-74, March.
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  15. Russell, Thomas & Thaler, Richard, 1985. "The Relevance of Quasi Rationality in Competitive Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(5), pages 1071-82, December.
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  17. Shafir, Eldar & Diamond, Peter & Tversky, Amos, 1997. "Money Illusion," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 341-74, May.
  18. Akerlof, George A & Yellen, Janet L, 1985. "Can Small Deviations from Rationality Make Significant Differences to Economic Equilibria?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 708-20, September.
  19. Richard H. Thaler & Cass R. Sunstein, 2003. "Libertarian Paternalism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 175-179, May.
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