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Working Paper
Consumer Mistakes and Advertising : The Case of Mortgage Refinancing

Does advertising help consumers to find the products they need or push them to buy products they don't need? In this paper, we study the effects of advertising on consumer mistakes and quantify the resulting effect on consumer welfare in the market for mortgage refinancing. Mortgage borrowers frequently make costly refinancing mistakes by either refinancing when they should wait, or by waiting when they should refinance. We assemble a novel data set that combines a borrower's exposure to direct mail refinance advertising and their subsequent refinancing decisions. Even though on average ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2017-067

Working Paper
Household Mortgage Refinancing Decisions Are Neighbor Influenced

Can social influence effects help explain regional heterogeneity in refinancing activity? Neighborhood social influence effects have been shown to affect publicly observable decisions, but their role in private decisions, like refinancing, remains unclear. Using precisely geolocated data and a nearest-neighbor research design, we find that households are 7% more likely to refinance if a neighbor within 50 meters has recently refinanced. Consistent with a word-of-mouth mechanism, social influence effects are weaker when neighbors are farther away and non existent for non-occupants. Our results ...
Working Papers , Paper 21-16


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