Elasticities of Demand for Consumer Credit

43 Pages Posted: 8 Nov 2005

See all articles by Dean S. Karlan

Dean S. Karlan

Yale University; Innovations for Poverty Action; Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Jonathan Zinman

Dartmouth College; Innovations for Poverty Action; Jameel Poverty Action Lab; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: October 2005

Abstract

The price elasticity of demand for credit has major implications for macroeconomics, finance, and development. We present estimates of this parameter derived from a randomized trial. The experiment was implemented by a consumer microfinance lender in South Africa and identifies demand curves that, while downward-sloping with respect to price, are flatter than recent estimates in both developing and developed countries throughout most of a wide price range. However, demand becomes highly price sensitive at higher-than-normal rates. We discuss several interpretations of this kink and present some related evidence. We also find that loan size is far more responsive to changes in loan maturity than to changes in interest rate. This pattern is more pronounced among lower income individuals, a comparative static that has been observed in the United States as well and is consistent with liquidity constraints that decrease with income.

Keywords: credit markets, microfinance, demand elasticity, development finance, maturity

JEL Classification: D1, D9, E2, G2, O1

Suggested Citation

Karlan, Dean S. and Zinman, Jonathan, Elasticities of Demand for Consumer Credit (October 2005). Yale University Economic Growth Center Discussion Paper No. 926. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=838406

Dean S. Karlan (Contact Author)

Yale University ( email )

Box 208269
New Haven, CT 06520-8269
United States

Innovations for Poverty Action ( email )

1731 Connecticut Ave, 4th floor
New Haven, CT 20009
United States

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab ( email )

E60-246
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

Jonathan Zinman

Dartmouth College ( email )

Hanover, NH 03755
United States
603-646-0075 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.dartmouth.edu/jzinman/

Innovations for Poverty Action

1731 Connecticut Ave, 4th floor
New Haven, CT 20009
United States

Jameel Poverty Action Lab

E60-246
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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