Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2149575
 


 



The Pawn Industry and Its Customers: The United States and Europe


Marieke Bos


Swedish House of Finance; Stockholm University (SOFI)

Susan Carter


United States Military Academy

Paige Marta Skiba


Vanderbilt University - Law School

September 20, 2012

Vanderbilt Law and Economics Research Paper No. 12-26

Abstract:     
As humankind’s oldest financial institution, pawnbroking has served the financial needs of low-income families for centuries. Recently, and especially in the last five years, an increasing number of consumers have relied on pawnbrokers to help them meet daily financial needs. Seven percent of all U.S. and four percent of all Swedish households have used pawn credit at one time or another. Despite the general public’s increased interest in the pawn industry, evidenced by the popularity of reality television shows like “Pawn Stars” and “Hard Core Pawn,” economists have paid surprisingly little attention to the pawnbroking industry and pawnshop borrowers. We start by reviewing the history of pawn credit and the sparse economic literature on pawnbroking, and then present unique U.S. transaction data and Swedish register data to, first, show aggregate trends, and, second, shed light on the social and financial background of pawnshop borrowers and their behavior within the pawnbroking industry in both countries. We find that the pawnbroking industry and pawnshop borrowers are unexpectedly similar in the United States and Sweden.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 29

Keywords: pawnshops, consumer finance, fringe banking, subprime lending

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Date posted: September 21, 2012 ; Last revised: October 12, 2012

Suggested Citation

Bos, Marieke and Carter, Susan and Skiba, Paige Marta, The Pawn Industry and Its Customers: The United States and Europe (September 20, 2012). Vanderbilt Law and Economics Research Paper No. 12-26. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2149575 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2149575

Contact Information

Marieke Bos
Swedish House of Finance ( email )
Drottninggatan 98
111 60 Stockholm
Sweden
Stockholm University (SOFI) ( email )
Universitetsvägen 10F
SE-106 91 Stockholm
Sweden
HOME PAGE: http://www2.sofi.su.se/~mbo
Susan Carter
United States Military Academy ( email )
West Point, NY 10996
United States
Paige Marta Skiba (Contact Author)
Vanderbilt University - Law School ( email )
131 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203-1181
United States
615-322-1958 (Phone)
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