How payday credit access affects overdrafts and other outcomes

Abstract

Despite a dozen studies, the welfare effects of payday credit are still debatable. We contribute new evidence to the debate by studying how payday credit access affects bank overdrafts (such as returned checks), bankruptcy, and household complaints against lenders and debt collectors.We find some evidence that Chapter 13 bankruptcy rates decrease after payday credit bans, but where we find that, we also find that complaints against lenders and debt collectors increase. The welfare implications of these offsetting movements are unclear. Our most robust finding is that returned check numbers and overdraft fee income at banks increase after payday credit bans. Bouncing a check may cost more than a payday loan, so this finding suggests that payday credit access helps households avoid costlier alternatives. While our findings obviously do not settle the welfare debate over payday lending, we hope they resolve it to some extent it by illuminating how households rearrange their financial affairs when payday loan supply changes.

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About the Author

 

Michael R.
Strain
  • Michael R. Strain is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, where he studies labor economics, public finance, and applied microeconomics. His research has been published in peer-reviewed academic journals and in the policy journals Tax Notes and National Affairs. Dr. Strain also writes frequently for popular audiences on topics including labor market policy, jobs, minimum wages, federal tax and budget policy, and the Affordable Care Act, among others.  His essays and op-eds have been published by National Review, The New York Times, The Weekly Standard, The Atlantic, Forbes, Bloomberg View, and a variety of other outlets. He is frequently interviewed by major media outlets, and speaks often on college campuses. Before joining AEI he worked on the research team of the Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics program and was the manager of the New York Census Research Data Center, both at the U.S. Census Bureau.  Dr. Strain began his career in the macroeconomics research group of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.  He is a graduate of Marquette University, and holds an M.A. from New York University and a Ph.D. from Cornell.


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    Email: michael.strain@aei.org
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