Are Loans Cheaper When Tomorrow Seems Further?
26 Pages Posted: 28 Mar 2019
Date Written: March 5, 2019
This paper studies how future tense marking affects the terms of bank loans. We predict that languages that grammatically mark the future affect speakers’ intertemporal preferences and thereby reduce the perception of the risks associated with loan issuance. We test this hypothesis on a sample of 2,601 bank loans from 20 European countries. We observe that the use of a language with future tense marking is associated with lower loan spreads and lower collateral use in loan contracts. The results corroborate Chen (American Economic Review, 2013)’s hypothesis that future tense marking makes the future more distant than the present. They suggest that linguistic structure affects terms of loan contracts.
Keywords: language, bank, loans
JEL Classification: D83, G20, G41, Z13
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