Unshrouding: Evidence from Bank Overdrafts in Turkey

Unshrouding: Evidence from Bank Overdrafts in Turkey

  • SULE ALAN
  • MEHMET CEMALCILAR
  • DEAN KARLAN
  • JONATHAN ZINMAN

Article first published online: 17th October 2017 DOI: 10.1111/jofi.12593

Abstract


Lower prices produce higher demand… or do they? A bank's direct marketing to holders of “free” checking accounts shows that a large discount on 60% APR overdrafts overdraft usage, especially when bundled with a discount on debit card or autodebit transactions. In contrast, messages mentioning overdraft availability without mentioning price usage. Neither change persists long after the messages stop. These results do not square easily with classical models of consumer choice and firm competition. Instead, they support behavioral models where consumers underestimate and are inattentive to overdraft costs, and firms respond by shrouding overdraft prices in equilibrium.

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