Information Disclosure, Cognitive Biases, and Payday Borrowing

  • Author(s): MARIANNE BERTRAND, ADAIR MORSE
  • Published: Nov 14, 2011
  • Pages: 1865-1893
  • DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-6261.2011.01698.x

ABSTRACT

Can psychology‐guided information disclosure induce borrowers to lower their use of high‐cost debt? In a field experiment at payday stores, we find that information that makes people think less narrowly (over time) about finance costs results in less borrowing. In particular, reinforcing the adding‐up dollar fees incurred when rolling over loans reduces the take‐up of future payday loans by 11% in the subsequent 4 months. Although we remain agnostic as to the overall sufficiency of better disclosure policy to “remedy” payday borrowing, we cast the 11% reduction in borrowing in light of the relative low cost of this policy.

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