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Behaviorally Informed Financial Services Regulation, Michael S. Barr, Sendhil Mullainathan, Eldar Shafir Jan 2008

Behaviorally Informed Financial Services Regulation, Michael S. Barr, Sendhil Mullainathan, Eldar Shafir

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Financial services decisions can have enourmous consequences for household well-being. Households need a range of financial services - to conduct basic transactions, such as receiving their income, storing it, and paying bills; to save for emergency needs and long-term goals; to access credit; and to insure against life's key risks. But the financial services system is exceedingly complicated and often not well-designed to optimize house-hold behavior. In response to the complexity of out financial system, there has been a long running debate about the appropriate role and form of regulation. Regulation is largely stuck in two competing models - disclosure, and ...


An Opt-Out Home Mortgage System, Michael S. Barr, Sendhil Mullainathan, Eldar Shafir Jan 2008

An Opt-Out Home Mortgage System, Michael S. Barr, Sendhil Mullainathan, Eldar Shafir

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The current housing and financial crisis has led to significant congressional and executive action to manage the crisis and stem the harms from it, but the fundamental problems that caused the crisis remain largely unaddressed. The central features of the industrial organization of the mortgage market with its misaligned incentives, and the core psychological and behavioral phenomena that drive household financial decisionmaking remain. While the causes of the mortgage meltdown are myriad and the solutions likely to be multifaceted, a central problem that led to the crisis was that brokers and lenders offered loans that looked much less expensive and ...