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Virtual Seminar | The Last Mile of Monetary Policy: Inattention, Reminders, and the Refinancing Channel
Wednesday, April 12, 2023
Category: Events

Speaker:  Christopher Palmer (MIT)

Paper Title: “The Last Mile of Monetary Policy: Inattention, Reminders, and the Refinancing Channel”

Abstract: Under-refinancing limits the transmission of accommodative monetary policy to the household sector and costs mortgage holders in many countries a significant fraction of income annually. We test whether targeted communication can reduce the attention frictions that inhibit transmission by partnering with a large bank to analyze a field experiment testing messages sent to 12,000 Irish households. While we find only small effects of disclosure design improvements, a reminder letter increases refinancing by 76%, from 8.9% to 15.7%. To interpret this reminder effect, we extend and estimate a mixture model of inattentive financial decision-making to allow for disclosure treatment effects on attention. We find that reminders increase the likelihood mortgage holders are attentive by over 60%, from 24% to 39%. A conservative back-of-the-envelope cost-effectiveness calculation implies that the average reminder letter generated 42 euros of mortgage borrower consumption (605 euros per refinancing household). Our results illustrate that targeted central bank communication such as refinancing reminders could have a larger effect on refinancing than a standard policy rate cut. Reminders could further strengthen the refinancing channel and stimulate local consumption even when policy rates are at the zero-lower bound or set in a monetary union.

Paper Link: http://web.mit.edu/cjpalmer/www/BDKMP-LastMile.pdf

Registration Link: https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_WAoROlYwSDCEv9NpTLgb5g

Contact: [email protected]