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Antoinette Schoar - Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Thursday 19 April 2018, 04:30pm - 06:00pm

Do Credit Card Companies Screen For Behavioral Biases? (joint with Hong Ru)

Abstract:

We analyze the supply side of credit card markets, and the pricing and marketing strategies of issuers. First, card issuers target less-educated customers with more steeply back-loaded and hidden fees (e.g., higher late and over-limit fees). Second, issuers use rewards programs to screen for unobservable borrower types. Finally, we use increases in state-level unemployment insurance (UI) as positive shocks to consumer creditworthiness and show that issuers rely more on back-loaded (hidden) fees when UI increases, especially for less-educated customers. This result documents a novel trade-off: card issuers weigh short-term fee maximization against increases in credit risk, when using back-loaded fees.

 

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