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The Cost of Distorted Financial Advice: Evidence from the Mortgage Market

Leonardo Gambacorta (), Luigi Guiso (), Paolo Emilio Mistrulli, Andrea Pozzi and Anton Tsoy

No 12115, CEPR Discussion Papers from C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers

Abstract: Many households lack the sophistication required to make complex financial decisions and risk being exploited when seeking advice from intermediaries. We build a model of financial advice, in which banks attain their optimal mortgage portfolio by setting rates and providing advice to their clientele. �Sophisticated� households know which mortgage type is best for them; �naive� are susceptible to the bank's advice. Using data on the universe of Italian mortgages, we estimate the model and quantify the welfare implications of distorted financial advice. The average cost of the distortion is equivalent to an increase in the annual mortgage payment by 11%. However, since even distorted advice conveys information, banning advice altogether results in a loss of 998 euros per year on average. A financial literacy campaign is beneficial for naive households, but hurts sophisticated ones.

Keywords: consumer protection; distorted financial advice; mortgage market (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D12 D18 G21 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-eur and nep-fle
Date: 2017-06
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