How Consumers Get Cash: Evidence from a Diary Survey
Most research on payment instruments focuses on how consumers pay or spend their money using a wide variety of payment instruments including cash. This report focuses on the inverse of the question of spending, that is, how do consumers obtain cash? Data from the 2017 Diary of Consumer Payment Choice shows that, over a three-day period, about 21 percent of survey respondents get cash via various methods, such as getting cash from a family member or friend, using an ATM, getting cash back at retail, visiting a bank teller, etc. We find that consumers mostly get cash from family and friends, ...
A Theory of Sticky Rents: Search and Bargaining with Incomplete Information
The housing rental market offers a unique laboratory for studying price stickiness. This paper is motivated by two facts: 1. Tenants? rents are remarkably sticky even though regular and expected recontracting would, by itself, suggest substantial rent flexibility. 2. Rent stickiness varies significantly across structure type; for example, detached unit rents are far stickier than large apartment unit rents. We offer the first theoretical explanation of rent stickiness that is consistent with these facts. In this theory, search and bargaining with incomplete information generates stickiness in ...
Cashless Stores and Cash Users
The emergence of cashless stores has led several cities and states to ban such stores. This article investigates this issue by characterizing consumers who pay cash for in-person purchases and consumers who do not have credit or debit cards. Using a random utility model, I estimate 1.3 to 30.9 percentage drop in average per-payment consumer surplus if all stores were to become cashless and when utility is measured by the cost of making a payment, security, and convenience. The conclusion provides a discussion of alternatives to cash for in-person purchases that may be needed before all ...
Finite horizons, political economy, and growth
This paper analyzes the political economy of growth when agents and the government have finite horizons and equilibrium growth is inefficient. A "representative" government (that is, one whose preferences reflect those of its constituents) endowed merely with the ability to tax and transfer can improve somewhat on the market allocation but cannot achieve first-best growth. Efficiency requires in addition the ability to bind future governments. We argue that this ability is related to political stability, and provide empirical evidence that stability and growth-related policies (namely ...
Failing to Provide Public Goods: Why the Afghan Army Did Not Fight
The theory of public goods is mainly about the difficulty in paying for them. Our question here is this: Why might public goods not be provided, even if funding is available? We use the Afghan Army as our case study. We explore this issue using a simple model of a public good that can be provided through collective action and peer pressure, by modeling the self-organization of a group (the Afghan Army) as a mechanism design problem. We consider two kinds of transfer subsidies from an external entity such as the U.S. government. One is a Pigouvian subsidy that simply pays the salaries, ...
U.S. Consumers' Use of Personal Checks: Evidence from a Diary Survey
This paper presents a snapshot of U.S. consumers’ use of paper checks in 2017 and 2018, combining data from the 2017and 2018 Diaries of Consumer Payment Choice.Other data sources have tracked the decline in the use of paper checks since 2000. This report adds to that data by delving into the characteristics of 1,600 individual transactions—in particular, dollar amount, payee, and payer—made by a representative sample of U.S. consumers using checks. Among the findings:•Consumers used checks for 7 percent of transactions overall in 2017 and 2018 and wrote about three checks a ...
How Currency Denomination and the ATM Affect the Way We Pay
I show how currency denomination and the ATM influence consumers' choice of whether to pay cash for in-person purchases. I identify transaction values above which consumers switch from paying cash to paying with cards. The sharpest changes in the share of cash payments occur at $20 and $40, which coincide with the observation that most ATMs in the United States dispense multiples of $20 bills. Other thresholds prevail at multiples of $5 and $10. The above thresholds generate asymmetries in consumer behavior where the share of cash payments increases for payments values just below the ...
Consumer Behavior in a Health Crisis: What Happened with Cash?
In the United States, COVID-19 cases and currency in circulation both surged in March 2020. Did consumer choice play a role in the increase in currency in circulation? With fewer opportunities to shop and pay in person, why would consumers hold more cash? Data from the fall 2019 Survey and Diary of Consumer Payment Choice and interim rapid-response surveys in spring and late summer 2020 give some insights into consumer cash holdings and payments behavior.
Consumer Use of Multiple Payment Methods
The paper investigates the degree to which buyers choose to diversify their use of payment methods for in-person purchases. Some buyers use only one payment instrument. Others combine the use of mostly cash, credit, debit cards, and a few paper checks and prepaid cards. To each survey respondent, I apply three concentration measures over the use of payment instruments. Results show that the degree of consumers' payment concentration exhibits almost no correlation with consumer demographics, payment volume, or aggregate value.
Labor market upheaval, default regulations, and consumer debt
In 2005, bankruptcy laws were reformed significantly, making personal bankruptcy substantially more costly to file than before. Shortly after, the US began to experience its most severe recession in seventy years. While personal bankruptcy rates rose, they rose only modestly given the severity of the rise in unemployment, perhaps as a consequence of the reform. Moreover, in the subsequent recovery, households have been widely viewed as ?develeraging? (Mian and Sufi (2011), Krugman and Eggertson (2012)), an interpretation consistent with the largest reduction in the volume of unsecured debt in ...