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Jel Classification:G53 

Working Paper
Who Pays For Your Rewards? Redistribution in the Credit Card Market

We study credit card rewards as an ideal laboratory to quantify redistribution between consumers in retail financial markets. Comparing cards with and without rewards, we find that, regardless of income, sophisticated individuals profit from reward credit cards at the expense of naive consumers. To probe the underlying mechanisms, we exploit bank-initiated account limit increases at the card level and show that reward cards induce more spending, leaving naive consumers with higher unpaid balances. Naive consumers also follow a sub-optimal balance-matching heuristic when repaying their credit ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2023-007

Working Paper
Paying Too Much? Price Dispersion in the U.S. Mortgage Market

We document wide dispersion in the mortgage rates that households pay on identical loans, and show that borrowers' financial sophistication is an important determinant of the rates obtained. We estimate a gap between the 10th and 90th percentile mortgage rate that borrowers with the same characteristics obtain for identical loans, in the same market, on the same day, of 54 basis points|equivalent to about $6,500 in upfront costs (points) for the average loan. Time-invariant lender attributes explain little of this rate dispersion, and considerable dispersion remains even within loan officer. ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2020-062

Working Paper
Not Cashing In on Cashing Out: An Analysis of Low Cash-Out Refinance Rates

Lowering a borrower’s interest rate is one of the most effective ways to reduce a borrower’s debt burden. Mortgage refinancing offers a chance to shift debt balances from high-interest loans into a low-interest mortgage through “cashing out” some of the home’s equity. Borrowers could reduce their monthly payments by up to 13 percent by folding a student loan with a 6 percent interest rate into a mortgage with a 3 percent interest rate. Using anonymized data on mortgage refinancing behavior, we find that over half of borrowers with high-interest loans and available home equity do not ...
Working Papers , Paper 23-04

Working Paper
The Smart Money is in Cash? Financial Literacy and Liquid Savings Among U.S. Families

Most financial advisors recommend storing three to six months of expenses in liquid assets in case of an emergency. Yet we estimate that more than half of U.S. families do not have at least three months of their non-discretionary expenses in liquid savings. We find that financial literacy is strongly predictive of having three months of liquid savings, controlling for income, income variability, and even parental resources. We also find that financial literacy predicts liquid savings across the income distribution. These results indicate that accumulation of an emergency fund is not ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2021-076

Working Paper
Who Pays For Your Rewards? Redistribution in the Credit Card Market

We study credit card rewards as an ideal laboratory to quantify redistribution between consumers in retail financial markets. Comparing cards with and without rewards, we find that, regardless of income, sophisticated individuals profit from reward credit cards at the expense of naive consumers. To probe the underlying mechanisms, we exploit bank-initiated account limit increases at the card level and show that reward cards induce more spending, leaving naive consumers with higher unpaid balances. Naive consumers also follow a sub-optimal balance-matching heuristic when repaying their credit ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2023-007

Working Paper
Decomposing Gender Differences in Bankcard Credit Limits

In this paper, we examine if there are gender differences in total bankcard limits by utilizing a data set that links mortgage applicant information with individual-level credit bureau data from 2006 - 2016. We document that after controlling for credit score, income, and demographic characteristics, male borrowers on average have higher total bankcard limits than female borrowers. Using a standard Kitagawa-Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition, we find that 87 percent of the gap is explained by differences in the effect of observed characteristics between male and female borrowers, while ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2021-072

Working Paper
Decomposing Gender Differences in Bankcard Credit Limits

In this paper, we examine if there are gender differences in total bankcard limits by utilizing a data set that links mortgage applicant information with individual-level credit bureau data from 2006 to 2016. We document that after controlling for credit score, income, and demographic characteristics, male borrowers on average have higher total bankcard limits than female borrowers. Using a standard Kitagawa-Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition, we find that 87 percent of the gap is explained by differences in the effect of observed characteristics between male and female borrowers, while ...
Working Papers , Paper 21-35

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