Pawnshops, Behavioral Economics, and Self-Regulation
Skiba, Paige Marta
Carter, Susan Payne
Pawnbroking is the oldest source of credit. There is growing public interest in day-to-day pawnbroking operations, as evidenced by the popularity of reality shows such as “Pawn Stars” and “Hardcore Pawn.” Television viewers’ curiosity about an old credit institution may be due to the fact that 7% of all U.S. households have used pawn credit. Although pawnshops predate biblical times, researchers know surprisingly little about this ancient form of banking and its customers. We fill this gap by documenting detailed information on pawnshop loan repayment and default, and by discussing how pawnshop borrowers’ behavior is consistent with various behavioral economics phenomena.