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In: Film and Music

Submitted By seansean
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Pawnbroking is the oldest source of credit.1 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.”2 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.3 Although pawnshops predate biblical times, researchers know surprisingly little about this ancient form of banking and its customers.4 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. Pawnshop loans are small, short-term, collateralized loans typically used by low-income consumers. The borrower leaves a possession, or “pledge,” as collateral in exchange for a loan, typically of $75–$100.5 Interest rates vary by state and range from 2
Assistant Professor, Office of Economic and Manpower Analysis, United States Military Academy. The views expressed in this paper do not necessarily represent those of the United States Military Academy, the United States Army, or the Department of Defense. ** Associate Professor of Law, Vanderbilt University Law School. We would like to thank Margaret Blair, Anna Skiba-Crafts and Kip Viscusi for valuable feedback. 1 JOHN P. CASKEY, FRINGE BANKING: CHECK CASHING OUTLETS, PAWNSHOPS, AND THE POOR 13 (1994). 2 Pawn Stars, THE HISTORY CHANNEL, pawn-stars (last visited Nov. 19, 2012); Hardcore Pawn, TRUTV,...

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