Learning in the Credit Card Market

44 Pages Posted: 6 Apr 2008 Last revised: 26 Apr 2013

Sumit Agarwal

National University of Singapore

John C. Driscoll

Federal Reserve Board

Xavier Gabaix

Harvard University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

David Laibson

Harvard University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: April 24, 2013

Abstract

We measure learning and forgetting dynamics using a panel with four million monthly credit card statements. Through negative feedback -- i.e. paying a fee -- consumers learn to avoid future fees. Paying a fee last month reduces fee payment in the current month by 40%. Monthly fee payments fall by 75% during the first four years of a card holder's account life. Consumers forget some of what they learn and exhibit a strong recency effect: knowledge depreciates about 10% or more per month. Higher-income borrowers learn twice as fast, and forget twice as slowly, as lower-income borrowers.

Keywords: household finance, consumer finance, credit cards, feedback, learning, learning-by-doing, recency

JEL Classification: D1, D4, D8, G2

Suggested Citation

Agarwal, Sumit and Driscoll, John C. and Gabaix, Xavier and Laibson, David, Learning in the Credit Card Market (April 24, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1091623 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1091623

Sumit Agarwal (Contact Author)

National University of Singapore ( email )

15 Kent Ridge Drive
Singapore, 117592
Singapore
8118 9025 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.ushakrisna.com

John C. Driscoll

Federal Reserve Board ( email )

20th and C Streets, NW
Washington, DC 20551
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.federalreserve.gov/econresdata/john-c-driscoll.htm

Xavier Gabaix

Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )

Littauer Center
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

c/o ECARES ULB CP 114
B-1050 Brussels
Belgium

David I. Laibson

Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )

Littauer Center
Room M-14
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-496-3402 (Phone)
617-495-8570 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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