Financial Literacy and Self-Control in FinTech: Evidence from a Field Experiment on Online Consumer Borrowing
58 Pages Posted: 24 Oct 2019
Date Written: October 14, 2019
We report the results of a longitudinal intervention with students across five universities in China designed to reduce online consumer debt. Our research design allocates individuals to either a financial literacy treatment, a self-control training program, or a zero-touch control group. Financial education interventions improve test scores on general financial literacy but only marginally affect future online borrowing. Our self-control treatment features detailed tracking of spending and borrowing activity with a third-party app and introspection about individuals' consumption with a counselor. These sessions reduce future online borrowing, delinquency charges, and borrowing for entertainment reasons - and are driven by the male subjects in the sample. Our results suggest that self-regulation can affect financial behavior in e-commerce platforms.
Keywords: Financial Literacy, Online Borrowing, Consumer Credit, Self-Control, FinTech, China
JEL Classification: G51, G53, D14, D18, G23, G21
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