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Overborrowing and undersaving: lessons and policy implications from research in behavioral economics
The U.S. household carries over $7,500 in uncollateralized debt and likely saves at a negative rate. There is a growing body of evidence that this borrowing and saving behavior may not, as assumed by standard economics, be the product of rational financial planning. This paper discusses insights from behavioral economics on how self-control problems could play a crucial role in determining such financial outcomes. It is important to note that self-control problems, as defined in this paper, are thought of as an issue affecting all people, not just those involved in our specific research. ; ...
Selection into financial literacy programs: evidence from a field study
As financial literacy has been shown to correlate with good financial decisions, policymakers promote educational programs to improve individuals? financial decisions. But who selects into educational programs and who acquires information about personal finance? This paper, in a field study with more than 870 individuals, offers individuals free information about their credit reports (and credit scores). About 55 percent choose to participate in this small counseling program. To test whether those who self-select to acquire information about personal finance differ from those who do not on ...
Estimating the cost of being unbanked
Being unbanked involves not only direct costs such as check cashing fees or payday loan interest, but also barriers to building a nest egg.
Impatience and credit behavior: evidence from a field experiment
This paper tests whether heterogeneity of time preferences can explain individual credit behavior. In a field experiment targeting individuals from low-to-moderate income households, we measure individual time preferences through choice experiments, and then match these time preference measures to individual credit reports and annual tax returns. ; We find that, controlling for disposable income and other individual characteristics, individuals who are less patient have lower credit scores and higher default rates. Moreover, people with dynamically inconsistent (quasi-hyperbolic) preferences ...
Credit card debt and payment use
Approximately half of credit card holders in the United States regularly carry unpaid credit card debt. These so-called "revolvers" exhibit payment behavior that differs from that of those who repay their entire credit card balance every month. Previous literature has focused on the adoption of debit cards by people who carry credit card balances, but so far there has been no empirical analysis exploring the relationship between revolving behavior and patterns of payment use, such as substitution away from credit cards to other payment methods. ; Using data collected in the 2005 Survey of ...