Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Business and Economics


Finance and Quantitative Methods

First Advisor

Dr. Russell Jame


In my first chapter, I use new granular loan-level data and a novel instrumental variable to estimate the effect of competition among auto dealerships on the joint pricing of cars and car loans. I find that increased competition causes auto dealers to decrease vehicle prices to attract consumers. They, however, offset a large portion of their loss on vehicle prices through charging higher prices on a less transparent margin (i.e., loan markups). Consistent with the monthly payment targeting channel, I find that increased competition does not change consumers' monthly payments. My findings suggest that sophisticated sellers such as auto dealers may exploit the behavioral biases of consumers to maximize their profits. In my second chapter, we study the role of captive finance subsidiaries, vertically integrated lenders, in creating a potential channel for trade policy to affect consumer credit. Examining the Trump administration 2018 metal tariffs’ impact on auto manufacturers, we find consumers received worse auto loan terms from captive lenders after the tariff relative to unaffected non-captive lenders. The average interest rate on captive loans increased by 26 basis points while average loan amounts, loan maturities, and loan-to-value ratios decreased. The worse loan terms represent a tightening of credit along the intensive margin, not a shift in the composition of borrowers. Further, we document a disparate impact on low-income borrowers and in areas with less lending competition. Overall, our results suggest not only that captive finance divisions enable tariff cost pass-through to consumer finance but also that focusing solely on directly affected product prices may underestimate the impact of tariffs. In my third chapter, we study third party quality certification in the market for financial advice. Using the Barron's Top Financial Advisors rankings, we find evidence that being named a top advisor increases both assets under management and accounts for individuals and their firms. The effects increase sharply around thresholds for certification suggesting that clients value the certification itself and not solely the underlying quality. The certification effects are larger for those from smaller firms and newer advisors. Consistent with models of reputation in the financial advisory industry, after certification, advisors are less likely to engage in misconduct.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Funding Information

We acknowledge the support of the Institute for the Study of Free Enterprise (2021).