Diagnosing Consumer Confusion and Sub-Optimal Shopping Effort: Theory and Mortgage-Market Evidence
Mortgage loans are leading examples of transactions where experts on one side of the market take advantage of consumers' lack of knowledge and experience. We study the compensation that borrowers pay to mortgage brokers for assistance from application to closing. Two findings support the conclusion that confused borrowers overpay for brokers' services: (1) A model of effective shopping shows that borrowers sacrifice at least $1,000 by shopping from too few brokers. (2) Borrowers who compensate their brokers with both cash and a commission from the lender pay twice as much as similar borrowers who pay no cash.
Published: Susan E. Woodward & Robert E. Hall, 2012. "Diagnosing Consumer Confusion and Sub-optimal Shopping Effort: Theory and Mortgage-Market Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(7), pages 3249-76, December.
An online appendix is available for this publication.