Unshrouding: Evidence from Bank Overdrafts in Turkey

  • Author(s): SULE ALAN, MEHMET CEMALCILAR, DEAN KARLAN, JONATHAN ZINMAN
  • Published: Oct 13, 2017
  • DOI: 10.1111/jofi.12593

ABSTRACT

Lower prices produce higher demand… or do they? A bank's direct marketing to holders of “free” checking accounts shows that a large discount on 60% APR overdrafts reduces overdraft usage, especially when bundled with a discount on debit card or auto‐debit transactions. In contrast, messages mentioning overdraft availability without mentioning price increase usage. Neither change persists long after the messages stop. These results do not square easily with classical models of consumer choice and firm competition. Instead they support behavioral models where consumers underestimate and are inattentive to overdraft costs, and firms respond by shrouding overdraft prices in equilibrium.

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