Jan 11 -- The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Bureau or CFPB) is requesting the extension of the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB's) approval for an existing information collection titled “Generic Information Collection Plan for Studies of Consumers Using Controlled Trials in Field and Economic Laboratory Settings.” Comments to OMB by February 17, 2023 are invited. [Comments due 30 days after submission to OMB on January 18, 2023.]
The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act tasks the Bureau with researching, analyzing, and reporting on topics relating to the Bureau's mission including developments in markets for consumer financial products and services, consumer awareness, and consumer behavior. Under this generic information collection plan, the Bureau collects data through controlled trials in field and economic laboratory settings. This research is used for developmental and informative purposes to increase the Bureau's understanding of consumer credit markets and household financial decision-making. Basic research projects will be submitted under this clearance.
The Bureau seeks to use this information collection plan to collect data through controlled trials in field and economic laboratory settings. In general, topics that the Bureau is interested in studying include:
-- consumer awareness and decision-making, for example, understanding what financial products or features people are aware of and why they choose one product over another;
-- consumer experiences, characteristics, beliefs, attitudes, and potential risks to consumers, including traditionally underserved consumers;
-- information disclosure and how disclosure may affect behavior; and
-- the effect of educational or other interventions on consumer financial behavior or outcomes.
These topics will usually be in the context of consumer financial product markets, including but not limited to: mortgages, car loans, student loans, installment loans, small dollar loans, credit, debit, and prepaid cards.
The research will be used for developmental and informative purposes, but not providing a sole basis for specific policy or regulatory action at the Bureau with respect to these markets. Additionally, research may be related to the Bureau’s mission regarding financial education, including evaluating the effectiveness of financial education programs and understanding financial planning behaviors, including savings, spending, and investing behavior. The Bureau envisions that the research covered under this clearance will be basic research about consumer credit markets and household finance.
The Bureau will conduct controlled trials in field and economic laboratory settings to answer questions that have not yet been satisfactorily addressed in the relevant research literature. In some cases, it will be appropriate to replicate previous laboratory and field studies within a new population of interest to the Bureau (e.g. military service members, students, older Americans, or people who utilize specific financial products) or if a change in market circumstances suggests that prior research may no longer be applicable. In these cases, the Bureau will detail the relationship between the proposal and existing studies and will describe how the data collection supports the Bureau’s mission. A review of the existing relevant literature will be undertaken before proceeding with a project.
The ability to collect data through controlled trials in field and economic laboratory settings allows the Bureau to control both the timing and direction of the research. By contrast, relying on naturally occurring data would leave the timing, content, and sample population outside of our control. These research projects allow the Bureau to isolate cause and effect by using randomization to control for variables that are unknowable or un-measurable in natural settings. In addition, these studies may be the best way to explore consumer behavior in novel environments, such as with emerging financial products.
CFPB Research: https://www.consumerfinance.gov/data-research/
Recent CFPB controlled trials: https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAICList?ref_nbr=201907-3170-001
CFPB submission to OMB: https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=202209-3170-001
Click IC List for information collection instrument, View Supporting Statement for technical documentation. Submit comments through this webpage.
For AEA members wishing to submit comments, "A Primer on How to Respond to Calls for Comment on Federal Data Collections" is available at https://www.aeaweb.org/content/file?id=5806