Monday, February 27, 2006

Could Textiles lead the way?

Did you know that in the 1700s it was against the law in England to export looms or weaving equipment? The British government understood that the English controlled weaving and fabric production, and they wanted a monopoly. Over time, of course, the technology moved to the Northeast of the United States, where it was tightly controlled, until wages forced a move to the Southern United States. When I was growing up, every respectable small Southern town had a textile plant. Dalton, Georgia is the carpet capital of the world due to the number of firms that manufacture carpet there.

So in a sense the shifting of manufacturing jobs has been a steady progression since the dawn of the industrial age. Manufacturers have shifted production to sites where the costs are lower in a very rational way. Today, most of those small Southern towns are seeing the same mills that provided great jobs closing up and moving, first to Mexico, then to China and Vietnam.

But many Southern towns and cities have a huge vested interest in textiles. Perhaps we cannot be the manufacturing capital of textiles anymore, but we can be the innovation and design capital of textiles. Some of the most interesting and complex and differentiated textiles are being developed and produced in universities in the Southeast United States, where there's been a recognition that to remain competitive, they need to innovate the fabrics and the manufacturing processes.

My uncle, who has worked in textiles for many years, now finds he is in demand to train others on new techniques that his firm has developed for coatings and waterproofing fabrics. As our textile engineers and universities combine to create innovations around textiles, they demonstrate our using our knowledge, our insights and our willingness to innovate will keep us at the forefront of innovation in a space where the US can no longer compete, at least on a manufacturing basis. Maybe soon we'll see lots of small textile firms generating new fabrics and new production concepts which will be manufactured here and overseas, much like we see small biotech firms attempting to create a new drug.
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posted by Jeffrey Phillips at 5:09 AM

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

A payday loan is a short-term loan that you promise to pay back from your next pay cheque. A payday loan is sometimes also called a payday advance.

Normally, you have to pay back a payday loan on or before your next payday (usually in two weeks or less). The amount you can borrow is usually limited to 30 percent of the net amount of your pay cheque. The net amount of your pay cheque is your total pay, after any deductions such as income taxes. For example, if your pay cheque is $1,000 net every two weeks, your payday loan could be for a maximum of $300 ($1,000 x 30%).

Before giving you a payday loan, lenders will ask for proof that you have a regular income, a permanent address and an active bank account. Some payday lenders also require that you be over the age of 18.

To make sure you pay back the loan, all payday lenders will ask you to provide a postdated cheque or to authorize a direct withdrawal from your bank account for the amount of the loan, plus all the different fees and interest charges that will be added to the original amount of the loan. The combination of multiple fees and interest charges are what make payday loans so expensive (Click here for an explanation of the various fees associated with these types of loans.

The lender should also ask you to sign a loan agreement. If the lender does not offer to give you a copy of the loan agreement, ask for one. Read this document carefully before signing it, and keep a copy for your records

How and when do I pay back the loan?
A payday loan agreement usually says that you must pay the total amount you owe for the loan on or before the date stated in your loan agreement. This includes the amount you borrowed, plus interest and any additional fees and charges.

Some lenders will cash your postdated cheque or process your direct withdrawal on the day the loan is due. However, some lenders may require that you pay the loan in cash, on or before the due date.

If you have not paid the loan in cash by the due date, some lenders may cash your cheque or process the direct withdrawal you signed on the day after your loan's due date, and charge you another fee. Ask the lender what the most inexpensive way is for you to repay your loan.

How does a payday loan affect my credit report?
Credit-reporting agencies collect information on whether or not you make your payments on time. This information, also called your "credit history", is part of your credit report and is used to calculate your credit score.

Making payments on time can help improve your credit score by demonstrating that you are able to manage your debt. Even if you have poor credit, you can rebuild it by using a credit card or other type of credit and paying back the money you owe on time.

This is not the case with payday loans. Since payday lenders are not currently members of the main credit-reporting agencies, getting a payday loan and paying it off on time will not improve your credit score. However, if you do not pay your loan back on time and it is sent to a collection agency, this will likely be reported to a credit-reporting agency and could have a negative impact on your credit report.

How much will a payday loan cost?
A payday loan is much more expensive than most other types of loans offered by financial institutions such as banks or credit unions. Before you apply for a payday loan, find out about all the fees and charges you will have to pay — including the fees you will be charged if you cannot repay the loan on time. The fees may not be easy to see right away, so read the agreement carefully before signing it. If you do not receive an explanation of all of the fees, charges and interest that will apply to the loan, or if you are not satisfied with the explanation you receive, do not sign the loan agreement.

How does the cost of a payday loan compare with other credit products?
Payday loans are much more expensive than other types of loans, including credit cards. But how much are you really paying? How does the cost of a payday loan compare with taking a cash advance on a credit card, using overdraft protection on your bank account or borrowing on a line of credit?

Let's compare the cost of using different types of loans. We'll assume that you borrow $300, for 14 days. Note the considerable difference in the cost of each type of loan.

Things to consider before you apply for a payday loan
Even if you think you may be turned down, ask your bank or credit union for overdraft protection on your bank account, or a line of credit. These are relatively inexpensive ways of obtaining access to extra funds, for short-term use.


If you are turned down for any of these credit options, ask why. If the reason is that you have a poor credit history, contact the three credit-reporting agencies to get a copy of your credit report. Read the reports carefully to make sure that all of the information in it is correct. If you find any errors, contact the credit-reporting agency to find out how you can have the information corrected. The three major credit-reporting agencies in Canada are Equifax Canada, TransUnion Canada and Northern Credit Bureaus. All three of these agencies will give you a copy of your credit report for free if you request that it be sent to you by regular mail.


Ask yourself if you really need to take out a loan, or whether you can get by until your next pay cheque. If you need the money immediately, try to make other arrangements. For example, you may be able to cash in vacation days. Or you might consider getting a short-term loan from a family member or a friend.


If you find that you need to apply for a payday loan because you have no alternative, only borrow an amount that you are 100 percent sure you can repay on the due date of the loan.


Don't borrow more than you need.

Things to consider if you take out a payday loan
Don't be afraid to ask a lot of questions. Read carefully — and take home with you — a copy of the loan agreement that you are being asked to sign. Don't feel pressured to sign the loan agreement right away if you have questions and want more time to read through the agreement on your own. If the lender does not want to give you a copy of the agreement, look for another lender.


Be sure to ask about all the fees, charges and interest that apply when you first get the loan, and what other charges you will owe if you can't pay the loan back on time.


If you are taking out a payday loan at another location to pay back the first payday loan, or you are extending or "rolling over" the loan that you had with the same lender, you could find yourself in serious financial difficulty. The fees, charges and interest will add up quickly on these types of loans, which can put you into serious debt.
How can I figure out the cost of each type of loan?
To estimate the total cost of a loan, including the annual cost of the loan expressed as a percentage of the amount borrowed, follow the steps below.

Step 1:

Determine how much interest you will pay. First, find out the annual interest rate that applies to the loan (if there is one). Figure out the daily interest rate by dividing the annual interest rate of the loan by 365 days. Then, multiply that rate by the length of time you are taking the loan. Finally, multiply the result by the amount you will borrow, in dollars:


Amount of interest

= Annual interest rate

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
365 days × Length of the loan
(number of days) × Amount of the loan

Step 2:

Determine the total cost of the loan by adding any fees that may apply to the interest you will have to pay. Find out what fees apply to the loan and add them to the cost of the interest, found in Step 1:


Total cost of the loan = Amount of interest + Total fees


Step 3:

Estimate the annual cost of the loan, expressed as a percentage of the amount borrowed. First, divide the total cost of the loan, found in Step 2, by the amount of the loan. Then, divide this rate by the length of time you are taking the loan (in days) and multiply it by 365 (the number of days in the year):


Annual cost of the loan (%)

= Cost of the loan

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Amount of the loan ÷ Length of the loan
(number of days) × 365 days

Let's find out the cost of a $300 payday loan, taken for 14 days.

We'll assume that the lender charges you a one-time set-up fee of $10 and a service fee of $40, which includes interest on the loan.


Step 1:

Determine how much interest you will pay. In this case, there is no interest fee. The interest is therefore $0.


Step 2:

Figure out the cost of the loan by adding together any fees that apply and the interest you will have to pay. In this case, you would add the $10 set-up fee and the $40 service fee together:

$10 + $40 = $50


Step 3:

Estimate the total annual cost of the loan, expressed as a percentage of the amount borrowed:


Annual cost of the loan (%)

= Cost of the loan

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Amount of the loan ÷ Length of the loan
(number of days) × 365 days
= $50
———— ÷ 14 days × 365 days
$300
= 4.35 or approximately 435%

The total cost of the payday loan would be $50 with an annual cost of 435 percent of the amount borrowed.






Information asymmetries are common in credit market models, but the usual assumption,

at least in commercial lending, is that borrowers are the better informed party and that

lenders have to screen and monitor to assess whether

firms are creditworthy. The opposite
asymmetry, as we assume here, does not seem implausible in the context of consumer lending.

"Fringe" borrowers are less educated than mainstream borrowers (Caskey 2003), and many

are

first-time borrowers (or are rebounding from a failed first foray into credit). Lenders
know from experience with large numbers of borrowers, whereas the borrower may only have

their own experience to guide them. Credit can also be confusing; after marriage, mortgages

are probably the most complicated contract most people ever enter. Given the subtleties

involved with credit, and the supposed lack of sophistication of sub-prime borrowers, our

assumption that lenders know better seems plausible.

While lenders might deceive households about several variables that in

fluence household
loan demand, we focus on income. We suppose that lenders exaggerate household's future

income in order boost loan demand. Our borrowers are gullible, in the sense that they can

be fooled about their future income, but they borrow rationally given their beliefs. Fooling

borrowers is costly to lenders, where the costs could represent conscience, technological costs

(of learning the pitch), or risk of prosecution. The upside to exaggerating borrowers' income

prospects is obvious—they borrow more. As long as the extra borrowing does not increase

default risk too much, and as long as deceiving borrowers is easy enough, income deception

and predatory—welfare reducing—lending may occur.

After de

fining predatory lending, we test whether payday lending fi ts our definition. Payday
lenders make small, short-term loans to mostly lower-middle income households. The

business is booming, but critics condemn payday lending, especially the high fees and frequent

loan rollovers, as predatory. Many states prohibit payday loans outright, or

indirectly,
via

usury limits.
To test whether payday lending quali

fies as predatory, we compared debt and delinquency
rates for households in states that allow payday lending to those in states that do not. We

focus especially on di

fferences across states households that, according to our model, seem
more vulnerable to predation: households with more income uncertainly or less education.

We use smoking as a third, more ambiguous, proxy for households with high, or perhaps

hyperbolic, discount rates. In general, high discounters will pay higher future costs for a

given, immediate, gain in welfare. Smokers' seem to

fit that description. What makes the
smoking proxy ambiguous is that smokers may have hyperbolic, not just high, discount rates.

Hyperbolic discount rates decline over time in a way that leads to procrastination and selfcontrol

problems (Laibson 1997). The hyperbolic discounter postpones quitting smoking,

or repaying credit. Without knowing whether smokers discount rates are merely high, or

hyperbolic, we will not be able to say whether any extra debt for smokers in payday states

is welfare reducing.

2
Given those proxies, we use a di

fference-in-difference approach to test whether payday
lending

fits our definition of predatory. First we look for diff erences in household debt
and delinquency across payday states and non-payday states, then we test whether those

di

fference are higher for potential prey. To ensure that any such differences are not merely
state e

ffects, we difference a third time across time by comparing whether those di fferences
changed after the advent of payday lending circa 1995. That triple di

fference identifies any
di

fference in debt and delinquency for potential prey in payday states after payday lending
was introduced.

Our

findings seem mostly inconsistent with the hypothesis that payday lenders prey on,
i.e., lower the welfare of, households with uncertain income or households with less education.

Those types of households who happen to live in states that allow unlimited payday loans

are less likely to report being turned down for credit, but are

not more likely, by and large,
to report higher debt levels, contrary to the overborrowing prediction of our model. Nor are

such households more likely to have missed a debt payment in the previous year. On the

contrary, households with uncertain income who live in states with unlimited payday loans

are

less likely to have missed a debt payment over the previous year. The latter result is
consistent with claims by defenders of payday lending that some households borrow from

2

Consistent with a high discount rate, Munasinghe and Sicherman (2000) discover that smokers have
fl

atter wage profiles and they are willing to trade more future earnings for a given increase in current earnings.
Gruber and Mulainathan (2002)

find that high cigarette taxes make smokers "happier," consistent with
hypberbolic discount rates (because taxes help smokers commit to quitting). DellaVigna and Malmendier

(2004) show how credit card lenders can manipulate hyperbolic discounters by front-loading bene

fits and
back-loading costs.

payday lenders to avoid missing payments on other debt. On the whole, our results seem

consistent with the hypothesis that payday lending represents a legitimate increase in the

supply of credit, not a contrived increase in credit demand.

We

find some interesting differences for smokers, but those diff erences are harder to
interpret in relation to the predatory hypothesis without knowing

apriori whether smokers
are hyperbolic, or merely high, discounters.

We also

find, using a small set of data from different sources, that payday loan rates
and fees decline signi

ficantly as the number of payday lenders and pawnshops increase.
Reformers often advocate usury limits to lower payday loan fees but our evidence suggests

that competition among payday lenders (and pawnshops) works to lower payday loan prices.

Our paper has several cousins in the academic literature. Ausubel (1991) argues that

credit card lenders exploit their superior information about household credit demand in their

marketing and pricing of credit cards. The predators in our model pro

fit from their information
advantage as well. Our concept of income delusion or deception also has a behavioral

fl

avor, as well, hence our use of smoking as a proxy for self-control problems. Brunnermeier
and Parker (2004), for example, imagine that households

choose what to expect about future
income (or other outcomes). High hopes give households' current "felicity," even if it

distorts borrowing and other income-dependent decisions. Our households have high hopes

for income, and they make bad borrowing decisions, but we do not count the current felicity

from high hopes as an o

ffset to the welfare loss from overborrowing.
Our costly falsi

fication (of household income prospects) and costly verification (by counselors)
resemble Townsend's (1979) costly state veri

fication and Lacker andWeinbergs' (1989)
costly state falsi

fication. The main difference here is that the falsifying and verifying comes
before income is realized, not after.

More importantly, we hope our

findings inform the current, very real-world debate,
around predatory lending. The stakes in that debate are high: millions of lower income

households borrow regularly from thousands of payday loan o

ffices around the country. If
payday lenders raise household welfare by relaxing credit constraints, anti-predatory legislation

may lower it.

Payday lenders make small, short-term loans to households. The typical loan is about $300

for two weeks. The typical fee is $15 per $100 borrowed. Lenders require two recent pay

stubs (as proof of employment), and a recent bank account statement. Borrowers secure

the loan with a post-dated personal check for the loan amount plus fees. When the loan

matures, lenders deposit the check.

Payday lending evolved from check cashing much like bank lending evolved from deposit

taking. For a fee, check cashiers turn personal paychecks into cash. After cashing several

paychecks for the same customer, lending against

f uture paychecks was a natural next step.
High

finance charges is the main criticism against payday lenders. The typical fee of $15
per $100 per two weeks implies an annual interest rate of 15

x365/14, or 390 percent. Payday
lenders are also criticize for overlending, in the sense that borrowers often re

finance their
loans repeatedly, and for "targeting" women making the transition from welfare-to-work

(Fox and Mierzewski 2001) and soldiers (Graves and Peterson 2004).

Despite their critics, payday lending has boomed. The number of payday advance o

ffices
grew from 0 in 1990 to 14

, 000 in 2003 (Stegman and Harris 2003). The industry originated
$8 to $14 billion in loans in 2000, implying 26-47 million individual loans. Rapid entry

suggests the industry is pro

fitable.
Payday lenders present sti

ff competition for pawnshops, even though the internet, namely
E-bay, signi

ficantly foreclosure costs for pawnshops (Caskey 2003). The number of pawn
shops in the U.S. grew about six percent per year between 1986 and 1996, but growth

essentially stalled from 1997 to 2003. Prices of shares in EZCorp, the largest, publicly

traded pawn shop holder, were essentially

flat or declining between 1994 and 2004, while
Ace Cash Express share prices, a retail

financial firm selling check cashing and payday loans,
rose substantially over that period (Figure 4). EZCorp CEO, Joseph Rotunday, blamed

payday lenders for pawnshops' dismal performance:

The company had been progressing very nicely until the late 1990s.... (when)

a new product called payroll advance/payday loans came along and provided our

customer base an alternative choice. Many of them elected the payday loan over

the traditional pawn loan. (Quoted by Caskey (2003) p.14).

Payday lending is heavily regulated (Table 1). As of 2001, eighteen states e

ffectively
prohibited payday loans

via usury limits, and most other states prices, loan size, and loan
frequency per customer (Fox and Mierzwinski 2001). Note that the payday loan limit ranges

from 0 (where payday loans are illegal) to 1250. Nine states allow unlimited payday loans.

Payday lenders have circumvented usury limits by a

ffiliating with national or state
chartered banks, but the Comptroller of the Currency—the overseer of nationally chartered

banks–recently banned such a

ffiliations. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation still
permits payday lenders to a

ffiliate with state banks, but recently restricted those partnerships
(Graves and Peterson 2005).

Regulatory risk—the threat of costly or disabling legislation in the future—looms large for

Payday lenders. The Utah legislature is reconsidering its permissive laws governing payday

lending. North Carolina recently drove payday lenders from the state by expressly outlawing

the practice.

Heavy regulation increases the cost of payday lending. High regulatory risk increases limits

entry into the industry and increases the expected return required by industry investors.

Driving up costs and driving away investors may be exactly what regulators intended if they

view payday lending as predatory.
We de

fine predatory lending as a welfare reducing provision of credit. Households can be
made worse o

ff by borrowing if lenders can deceive households into borrowing more than is
optimal. Excess borrowing reduces household welfare, and may increase default risk.

We illustrate our concept of predatory lending in a standard model of household borrowing.

Before we get to predatory lending, we review basic principles about welfare

improving
lending, the type that lets households maintain their consumption despite

fluctuations in
their income.

The model has two periods: today (period zero) and payday (period one. Household income

goes up and down periodically, but not randomly (for now): income equals zero today

and

y on payday. If households consume Ct in period t, their utility is U (Ct) .Household welfare
is the sum of utility over both periods:

U (C0)+ δU (C1), where δ equals the household's
time rate of discount. Households with high

δ value current consumption highly relative to
future consumption. In other words, high discounters are impatient.

A digression here on discount rates serves later discussion. In classical economics

δ is
constant. If

δ changes over time, so does household behavior, even if nothing else changes.
If

δ(t) is hyperbolic, households will postpone unpleasant tasks until current consumption
does not seem so precious relative to future consumption (Laibson 1997). With hyperbolic

discounting, that day never arrives, so hyperbolic discounters have behavioral problems: they

procrastinate. They may never repay debt, much less begin saving. Hyperbolic discounters

who start smoking may never quit.

Returning to the model, if the marginal utility of consumption (

U 0) is diminishing, households
will demand credit to reduce

fluctuations in their standard of living. Households
without credit, however, must fend for themselves (autarky). Welfare under autarky equals



U

(0)+δU (y). The fluctuations in consumption for households without credit make autarky
a possible worst case, and hence, a good benchmark for comparing cases

with credit.
If households borrow

B at interest rate r, welfare equals U (B) + δU (y − (1 + r)B).
Borrowing increases utility in period zero, when the proceeds are consumed, but lowers utility

in period one, when households pay for their borrowing. Rational, informed households trade

o

ff the good and bad side of borrowing; they borrow until the marginal utility of consuming
another unit today just equals the marginal, discounted

disutility of repaying the extra debt
on payday:



U

0(B) = δ(1 + r)U 0(y − (1 + r)B). (1)
Equation (1) determines household loan demand as a function of their income, their

discount rate, and the market interest rate:

B(y, δ, r). For standard utility functions,
household loan demand is increasing in income and decreasing in the discount factor and

interest rate:

By > 0; B δ < 0; Br < 0. Household welfare with optimal borrowing equals


U

(B(y, r, d))+δU (y − (1+r)B( y, r, δ)). As long as households follow (1), their welfare with
positive borrowing must be higher than without (autarky).

The welfare gain from borrowing depends on the cost of credit production. Suppose the

cost of lending $

B to a particular household equals (1 + ρ)B + f, where ρ represents the
opportunity cost per unit loaned and

f is the fixed cost per loan. Think of f as the cost
of record-keeping and credit check required for each loan, however large or small the loan

may be. If the going price for loans is (1+

r) per unit borrowed, the lenders' profits equal
(

r − ρ)B − f.


With perfect competition among lenders, the loan interest rate is competed down until

it just covers the costs of the loan:

r = ρ + f /B. Equilibrium r and B are determined
where that credit supply curve equals demand (1).

Equilibrium in the payday credit market is illustrated in Figure (3). If

fixed costs per loan
are prohibitively high, the market may not exist. Perhaps the payday lending technology

lowered the

fixed cost per loan enough to make the business viable.3 Before the advent of
payday lending, households who applied to banks for a very small, short-term loan may have

been denied.

Fixed costs per loan imply that smaller loans will cost more per dollar borrowed than

larger loans. That means households with low credit demand will pay higher rates than

households with high loan demand. Loan demand is increasing in income, so high income

households who demand larger quantities of credit will enjoy a "quantity" discount, while

lower income households will pay a "small lot" premium, or penalty. That price "discrimination"

is not invidious, however; the higher cost of smaller loans re

flects the fixed costs of
lending. The high price of payday loans may partly re

flect the combination of fixed costs
and small loan amounts (Flannery and Samolyk 2005).

A usury limit lowers household welfare. Suppose the maximum legal interest rate is

r.


At that maximum rate, the minimum loan that lenders' cost is

f /(r− ρ) = B. Low income
households with loan demand less than

B face a beggar's choice: borrow B at r or do not
borrow at all. Such households would be willing to pay more to to avoid going without

credit, so raising the usury limit would raise welfare for those households.

Competition is another key determinant of how much households gains from borrowing.



3

Alternatively, or additionaly, the demand for small, short term loans may have increased in the mid
1990s. The welfare reform then almost certainly increased demand for such credit as households who once

"worked" at home for the government were forced to go to work in the market.

Even with no competition — monopoly—households cannot be worse o

ff than under autarky.
The monopolist raises interest rates until the marginal revenue from higher rates equals the

marginal cost from lower loan demand:



B

(y, r) = −(r − ρ)Br(y, r) . (2)
At that monopoly interest rate,

rm, household loan demand equals B(y, rm).Household welfare
under monopoly equals

U (Br(y, r m))+δU (y −(1+ rm)Br(y, r m)). Welfare is lower under
monopoly because credit costs more and their standard of living

fluctuates more (because
costly credit reduces their demand for credit) If households borrow from the monopolist,

however, they must better o

ff than without credit.
In sum, welfare for rational households is highest if credit is available at competitive

prices. If households choose to borrow, they must be at least as well o

ff as they were
without credit. Limiting loan rates cannot raise household welfare and may reduce it.

Monopoly lenders lower household welfare, but even with a monopolist, households cannot

be worse o

ff than without credit.
The high cost of payday lending may partly re

flect fixed costs per loan. Before payday
lending, those

fixed costs may have been prohibitive; very small, short-term loans may not
have been worthwhile for banks. The payday lending technology may have lowered those



fi

xed costs, thus increasing the supply of credit to low income households demanding small
loans. That version of the genesis of payday lending suggests the innovation was welfare

improving, not predatory.





In the textbook model household welfare cannot be lower than under autarky because households

are fully informed and rational. Here we show households how can be made worse o

ff


than without credit if predatory lenders can delude households about their (households')

future income.

Suppose that by spending

C(τ ), lenders can convince a prospective borrower that her
income on payday will be

y +τ. The cost C can be interpreted variously as the cost of a guilty


A payday loan is a short-term loan that you promise to pay back from your next pay cheque. A payday loan is sometimes also called a payday advance.

Normally, you have to pay back a payday loan on or before your next payday (usually in two weeks or less). The amount you can borrow is usually limited to 30 percent of the net amount of your pay cheque. The net amount of your pay cheque is your total pay, after any deductions such as income taxes. For example, if your pay cheque is $1,000 net every two weeks, your payday loan could be for a maximum of $300 ($1,000 x 30%).

Before giving you a payday loan, lenders will ask for proof that you have a regular income, a permanent address and an active bank account. Some payday lenders also require that you be over the age of 18.

To make sure you pay back the loan, all payday lenders will ask you to provide a postdated cheque or to authorize a direct withdrawal from your bank account for the amount of the loan, plus all the different fees and interest charges that will be added to the original amount of the loan. The combination of multiple fees and interest charges are what make payday loans so expensive (Click here for an explanation of the various fees associated with these types of loans.

The lender should also ask you to sign a loan agreement. If the lender does not offer to give you a copy of the loan agreement, ask for one. Read this document carefully before signing it, and keep a copy for your records

How and when do I pay back the loan?
A payday loan agreement usually says that you must pay the total amount you owe for the loan on or before the date stated in your loan agreement. This includes the amount you borrowed, plus interest and any additional fees and charges.

Some lenders will cash your postdated cheque or process your direct withdrawal on the day the loan is due. However, some lenders may require that you pay the loan in cash, on or before the due date.

If you have not paid the loan in cash by the due date, some lenders may cash your cheque or process the direct withdrawal you signed on the day after your loan's due date, and charge you another fee. Ask the lender what the most inexpensive way is for you to repay your loan.

How does a payday loan affect my credit report?
Credit-reporting agencies collect information on whether or not you make your payments on time. This information, also called your "credit history", is part of your credit report and is used to calculate your credit score.

Making payments on time can help improve your credit score by demonstrating that you are able to manage your debt. Even if you have poor credit, you can rebuild it by using a credit card or other type of credit and paying back the money you owe on time.

This is not the case with payday loans. Since payday lenders are not currently members of the main credit-reporting agencies, getting a payday loan and paying it off on time will not improve your credit score. However, if you do not pay your loan back on time and it is sent to a collection agency, this will likely be reported to a credit-reporting agency and could have a negative impact on your credit report.

How much will a payday loan cost?
A payday loan is much more expensive than most other types of loans offered by financial institutions such as banks or credit unions. Before you apply for a payday loan, find out about all the fees and charges you will have to pay — including the fees you will be charged if you cannot repay the loan on time. The fees may not be easy to see right away, so read the agreement carefully before signing it. If you do not receive an explanation of all of the fees, charges and interest that will apply to the loan, or if you are not satisfied with the explanation you receive, do not sign the loan agreement.

How does the cost of a payday loan compare with other credit products?
Payday loans are much more expensive than other types of loans, including credit cards. But how much are you really paying? How does the cost of a payday loan compare with taking a cash advance on a credit card, using overdraft protection on your bank account or borrowing on a line of credit?

Let's compare the cost of using different types of loans. We'll assume that you borrow $300, for 14 days. Note the considerable difference in the cost of each type of loan.

Things to consider before you apply for a payday loan
Even if you think you may be turned down, ask your bank or credit union for overdraft protection on your bank account, or a line of credit. These are relatively inexpensive ways of obtaining access to extra funds, for short-term use.


If you are turned down for any of these credit options, ask why. If the reason is that you have a poor credit history, contact the three credit-reporting agencies to get a copy of your credit report. Read the reports carefully to make sure that all of the information in it is correct. If you find any errors, contact the credit-reporting agency to find out how you can have the information corrected. The three major credit-reporting agencies in Canada are Equifax Canada, TransUnion Canada and Northern Credit Bureaus. All three of these agencies will give you a copy of your credit report for free if you request that it be sent to you by regular mail.


Ask yourself if you really need to take out a loan, or whether you can get by until your next pay cheque. If you need the money immediately, try to make other arrangements. For example, you may be able to cash in vacation days. Or you might consider getting a short-term loan from a family member or a friend.


If you find that you need to apply for a payday loan because you have no alternative, only borrow an amount that you are 100 percent sure you can repay on the due date of the loan.


Don't borrow more than you need.

Things to consider if you take out a payday loan
Don't be afraid to ask a lot of questions. Read carefully — and take home with you — a copy of the loan agreement that you are being asked to sign. Don't feel pressured to sign the loan agreement right away if you have questions and want more time to read through the agreement on your own. If the lender does not want to give you a copy of the agreement, look for another lender.


Be sure to ask about all the fees, charges and interest that apply when you first get the loan, and what other charges you will owe if you can't pay the loan back on time.


If you are taking out a payday loan at another location to pay back the first payday loan, or you are extending or "rolling over" the loan that you had with the same lender, you could find yourself in serious financial difficulty. The fees, charges and interest will add up quickly on these types of loans, which can put you into serious debt.
How can I figure out the cost of each type of loan?
To estimate the total cost of a loan, including the annual cost of the loan expressed as a percentage of the amount borrowed, follow the steps below.

Step 1:

Determine how much interest you will pay. First, find out the annual interest rate that applies to the loan (if there is one). Figure out the daily interest rate by dividing the annual interest rate of the loan by 365 days. Then, multiply that rate by the length of time you are taking the loan. Finally, multiply the result by the amount you will borrow, in dollars:


Amount of interest

= Annual interest rate

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
365 days × Length of the loan
(number of days) × Amount of the loan

Step 2:

Determine the total cost of the loan by adding any fees that may apply to the interest you will have to pay. Find out what fees apply to the loan and add them to the cost of the interest, found in Step 1:


Total cost of the loan = Amount of interest + Total fees


Step 3:

Estimate the annual cost of the loan, expressed as a percentage of the amount borrowed. First, divide the total cost of the loan, found in Step 2, by the amount of the loan. Then, divide this rate by the length of time you are taking the loan (in days) and multiply it by 365 (the number of days in the year):


Annual cost of the loan (%)

= Cost of the loan

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Amount of the loan ÷ Length of the loan
(number of days) × 365 days

Let's find out the cost of a $300 payday loan, taken for 14 days.

We'll assume that the lender charges you a one-time set-up fee of $10 and a service fee of $40, which includes interest on the loan.


Step 1:

Determine how much interest you will pay. In this case, there is no interest fee. The interest is therefore $0.


Step 2:

Figure out the cost of the loan by adding together any fees that apply and the interest you will have to pay. In this case, you would add the $10 set-up fee and the $40 service fee together:

$10 + $40 = $50


Step 3:

Estimate the total annual cost of the loan, expressed as a percentage of the amount borrowed:


Annual cost of the loan (%)

= Cost of the loan

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Amount of the loan ÷ Length of the loan
(number of days) × 365 days
= $50
———— ÷ 14 days × 365 days
$300
= 4.35 or approximately 435%

The total cost of the payday loan would be $50 with an annual cost of 435 percent of the amount borrowed.






Information asymmetries are common in credit market models, but the usual assumption,

at least in commercial lending, is that borrowers are the better informed party and that

lenders have to screen and monitor to assess whether

firms are creditworthy. The opposite
asymmetry, as we assume here, does not seem implausible in the context of consumer lending.

"Fringe" borrowers are less educated than mainstream borrowers (Caskey 2003), and many

are

first-time borrowers (or are rebounding from a failed first foray into credit). Lenders
know from experience with large numbers of borrowers, whereas the borrower may only have

their own experience to guide them. Credit can also be confusing; after marriage, mortgages

are probably the most complicated contract most people ever enter. Given the subtleties

involved with credit, and the supposed lack of sophistication of sub-prime borrowers, our

assumption that lenders know better seems plausible.

While lenders might deceive households about several variables that in

fluence household
loan demand, we focus on income. We suppose that lenders exaggerate household's future

income in order boost loan demand. Our borrowers are gullible, in the sense that they can

be fooled about their future income, but they borrow rationally given their beliefs. Fooling

borrowers is costly to lenders, where the costs could represent conscience, technological costs

(of learning the pitch), or risk of prosecution. The upside to exaggerating borrowers' income

prospects is obvious—they borrow more. As long as the extra borrowing does not increase

default risk too much, and as long as deceiving borrowers is easy enough, income deception

and predatory—welfare reducing—lending may occur.

After de

fining predatory lending, we test whether payday lending fi ts our definition. Payday
lenders make small, short-term loans to mostly lower-middle income households. The

business is booming, but critics condemn payday lending, especially the high fees and frequent

loan rollovers, as predatory. Many states prohibit payday loans outright, or

indirectly,
via

usury limits.
To test whether payday lending quali

fies as predatory, we compared debt and delinquency
rates for households in states that allow payday lending to those in states that do not. We

focus especially on di

fferences across states households that, according to our model, seem
more vulnerable to predation: households with more income uncertainly or less education.

We use smoking as a third, more ambiguous, proxy for households with high, or perhaps

hyperbolic, discount rates. In general, high discounters will pay higher future costs for a

given, immediate, gain in welfare. Smokers' seem to

fit that description. What makes the
smoking proxy ambiguous is that smokers may have hyperbolic, not just high, discount rates.

Hyperbolic discount rates decline over time in a way that leads to procrastination and selfcontrol

problems (Laibson 1997). The hyperbolic discounter postpones quitting smoking,

or repaying credit. Without knowing whether smokers discount rates are merely high, or

hyperbolic, we will not be able to say whether any extra debt for smokers in payday states

is welfare reducing.

2
Given those proxies, we use a di

fference-in-difference approach to test whether payday
lending

fits our definition of predatory. First we look for diff erences in household debt
and delinquency across payday states and non-payday states, then we test whether those

di

fference are higher for potential prey. To ensure that any such differences are not merely
state e

ffects, we difference a third time across time by comparing whether those di fferences
changed after the advent of payday lending circa 1995. That triple di

fference identifies any
di

fference in debt and delinquency for potential prey in payday states after payday lending
was introduced.

Our

findings seem mostly inconsistent with the hypothesis that payday lenders prey on,
i.e., lower the welfare of, households with uncertain income or households with less education.

Those types of households who happen to live in states that allow unlimited payday loans

are less likely to report being turned down for credit, but are

not more likely, by and large,
to report higher debt levels, contrary to the overborrowing prediction of our model. Nor are

such households more likely to have missed a debt payment in the previous year. On the

contrary, households with uncertain income who live in states with unlimited payday loans

are

less likely to have missed a debt payment over the previous year. The latter result is
consistent with claims by defenders of payday lending that some households borrow from

2

Consistent with a high discount rate, Munasinghe and Sicherman (2000) discover that smokers have
fl

atter wage profiles and they are willing to trade more future earnings for a given increase in current earnings.
Gruber and Mulainathan (2002)

find that high cigarette taxes make smokers "happier," consistent with
hypberbolic discount rates (because taxes help smokers commit to quitting). DellaVigna and Malmendier

(2004) show how credit card lenders can manipulate hyperbolic discounters by front-loading bene

fits and
back-loading costs.

payday lenders to avoid missing payments on other debt. On the whole, our results seem

consistent with the hypothesis that payday lending represents a legitimate increase in the

supply of credit, not a contrived increase in credit demand.

We

find some interesting differences for smokers, but those diff erences are harder to
interpret in relation to the predatory hypothesis without knowing

apriori whether smokers
are hyperbolic, or merely high, discounters.

We also

find, using a small set of data from different sources, that payday loan rates
and fees decline signi

ficantly as the number of payday lenders and pawnshops increase.
Reformers often advocate usury limits to lower payday loan fees but our evidence suggests

that competition among payday lenders (and pawnshops) works to lower payday loan prices.

Our paper has several cousins in the academic literature. Ausubel (1991) argues that

credit card lenders exploit their superior information about household credit demand in their

marketing and pricing of credit cards. The predators in our model pro

fit from their information
advantage as well. Our concept of income delusion or deception also has a behavioral

fl

avor, as well, hence our use of smoking as a proxy for self-control problems. Brunnermeier
and Parker (2004), for example, imagine that households

choose what to expect about future
income (or other outcomes). High hopes give households' current "felicity," even if it

distorts borrowing and other income-dependent decisions. Our households have high hopes

for income, and they make bad borrowing decisions, but we do not count the current felicity

from high hopes as an o

ffset to the welfare loss from overborrowing.
Our costly falsi

fication (of household income prospects) and costly verification (by counselors)
resemble Townsend's (1979) costly state veri

fication and Lacker andWeinbergs' (1989)
costly state falsi

fication. The main difference here is that the falsifying and verifying comes
before income is realized, not after.

More importantly, we hope our

findings inform the current, very real-world debate,
around predatory lending. The stakes in that debate are high: millions of lower income

households borrow regularly from thousands of payday loan o

ffices around the country. If
payday lenders raise household welfare by relaxing credit constraints, anti-predatory legislation

may lower it.

Payday lenders make small, short-term loans to households. The typical loan is about $300

for two weeks. The typical fee is $15 per $100 borrowed. Lenders require two recent pay

stubs (as proof of employment), and a recent bank account statement. Borrowers secure

the loan with a post-dated personal check for the loan amount plus fees. When the loan

matures, lenders deposit the check.

Payday lending evolved from check cashing much like bank lending evolved from deposit

taking. For a fee, check cashiers turn personal paychecks into cash. After cashing several

paychecks for the same customer, lending against

f uture paychecks was a natural next step.
High

finance charges is the main criticism against payday lenders. The typical fee of $15
per $100 per two weeks implies an annual interest rate of 15

x365/14, or 390 percent. Payday
lenders are also criticize for overlending, in the sense that borrowers often re

finance their
loans repeatedly, and for "targeting" women making the transition from welfare-to-work

(Fox and Mierzewski 2001) and soldiers (Graves and Peterson 2004).

Despite their critics, payday lending has boomed. The number of payday advance o

ffices
grew from 0 in 1990 to 14

, 000 in 2003 (Stegman and Harris 2003). The industry originated
$8 to $14 billion in loans in 2000, implying 26-47 million individual loans. Rapid entry

suggests the industry is pro

fitable.
Payday lenders present sti

ff competition for pawnshops, even though the internet, namely
E-bay, signi

ficantly foreclosure costs for pawnshops (Caskey 2003). The number of pawn
shops in the U.S. grew about six percent per year between 1986 and 1996, but growth

essentially stalled from 1997 to 2003. Prices of shares in EZCorp, the largest, publicly

traded pawn shop holder, were essentially

flat or declining between 1994 and 2004, while
Ace Cash Express share prices, a retail

financial firm selling check cashing and payday loans,
rose substantially over that period (Figure 4). EZCorp CEO, Joseph Rotunday, blamed

payday lenders for pawnshops' dismal performance:

The company had been progressing very nicely until the late 1990s.... (when)

a new product called payroll advance/payday loans came along and provided our

customer base an alternative choice. Many of them elected the payday loan over

the traditional pawn loan. (Quoted by Caskey (2003) p.14).

Payday lending is heavily regulated (Table 1). As of 2001, eighteen states e

ffectively
prohibited payday loans

via usury limits, and most other states prices, loan size, and loan
frequency per customer (Fox and Mierzwinski 2001). Note that the payday loan limit ranges

from 0 (where payday loans are illegal) to 1250. Nine states allow unlimited payday loans.

Payday lenders have circumvented usury limits by a

ffiliating with national or state
chartered banks, but the Comptroller of the Currency—the overseer of nationally chartered

banks–recently banned such a

ffiliations. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation still
permits payday lenders to a

ffiliate with state banks, but recently restricted those partnerships
(Graves and Peterson 2005).

Regulatory risk—the threat of costly or disabling legislation in the future—looms large for

Payday lenders. The Utah legislature is reconsidering its permissive laws governing payday

lending. North Carolina recently drove payday lenders from the state by expressly outlawing

the practice.

Heavy regulation increases the cost of payday lending. High regulatory risk increases limits

entry into the industry and increases the expected return required by industry investors.

Driving up costs and driving away investors may be exactly what regulators intended if they

view payday lending as predatory.
We de

fine predatory lending as a welfare reducing provision of credit. Households can be
made worse o

ff by borrowing if lenders can deceive households into borrowing more than is
optimal. Excess borrowing reduces household welfare, and may increase default risk.

We illustrate our concept of predatory lending in a standard model of household borrowing.

Before we get to predatory lending, we review basic principles about welfare

improving
lending, the type that lets households maintain their consumption despite

fluctuations in
their income.

The model has two periods: today (period zero) and payday (period one. Household income

goes up and down periodically, but not randomly (for now): income equals zero today

and

y on payday. If households consume Ct in period t, their utility is U (Ct) .Household welfare
is the sum of utility over both periods:

U (C0)+ δU (C1), where δ equals the household's
time rate of discount. Households with high

δ value current consumption highly relative to
future consumption. In other words, high discounters are impatient.

A digression here on discount rates serves later discussion. In classical economics

δ is
constant. If

δ changes over time, so does household behavior, even if nothing else changes.
If

δ(t) is hyperbolic, households will postpone unpleasant tasks until current consumption
does not seem so precious relative to future consumption (Laibson 1997). With hyperbolic

discounting, that day never arrives, so hyperbolic discounters have behavioral problems: they

procrastinate. They may never repay debt, much less begin saving. Hyperbolic discounters

who start smoking may never quit.

Returning to the model, if the marginal utility of consumption (

U 0) is diminishing, households
will demand credit to reduce

fluctuations in their standard of living. Households
without credit, however, must fend for themselves (autarky). Welfare under autarky equals



U

(0)+δU (y). The fluctuations in consumption for households without credit make autarky
a possible worst case, and hence, a good benchmark for comparing cases

with credit.
If households borrow

B at interest rate r, welfare equals U (B) + δU (y − (1 + r)B).
Borrowing increases utility in period zero, when the proceeds are consumed, but lowers utility

in period one, when households pay for their borrowing. Rational, informed households trade

o

ff the good and bad side of borrowing; they borrow until the marginal utility of consuming
another unit today just equals the marginal, discounted

disutility of repaying the extra debt
on payday:



U

0(B) = δ(1 + r)U 0(y − (1 + r)B). (1)
Equation (1) determines household loan demand as a function of their income, their

discount rate, and the market interest rate:

B(y, δ, r). For standard utility functions,
household loan demand is increasing in income and decreasing in the discount factor and

interest rate:

By > 0; B δ < 0; Br < 0. Household welfare with optimal borrowing equals


U

(B(y, r, d))+δU (y − (1+r)B( y, r, δ)). As long as households follow (1), their welfare with
positive borrowing must be higher than without (autarky).

The welfare gain from borrowing depends on the cost of credit production. Suppose the

cost of lending $

B to a particular household equals (1 + ρ)B + f, where ρ represents the
opportunity cost per unit loaned and

f is the fixed cost per loan. Think of f as the cost
of record-keeping and credit check required for each loan, however large or small the loan

may be. If the going price for loans is (1+

r) per unit borrowed, the lenders' profits equal
(

r − ρ)B − f.


With perfect competition among lenders, the loan interest rate is competed down until

it just covers the costs of the loan:

r = ρ + f /B. Equilibrium r and B are determined
where that credit supply curve equals demand (1).

Equilibrium in the payday credit market is illustrated in Figure (3). If

fixed costs per loan
are prohibitively high, the market may not exist. Perhaps the payday lending technology

lowered the

fixed cost per loan enough to make the business viable.3 Before the advent of
payday lending, households who applied to banks for a very small, short-term loan may have

been denied.

Fixed costs per loan imply that smaller loans will cost more per dollar borrowed than

larger loans. That means households with low credit demand will pay higher rates than

households with high loan demand. Loan demand is increasing in income, so high income

households who demand larger quantities of credit will enjoy a "quantity" discount, while

lower income households will pay a "small lot" premium, or penalty. That price "discrimination"

is not invidious, however; the higher cost of smaller loans re

flects the fixed costs of
lending. The high price of payday loans may partly re

flect the combination of fixed costs
and small loan amounts (Flannery and Samolyk 2005).

A usury limit lowers household welfare. Suppose the maximum legal interest rate is

r.


At that maximum rate, the minimum loan that lenders' cost is

f /(r− ρ) = B. Low income
households with loan demand less than

B face a beggar's choice: borrow B at r or do not
borrow at all. Such households would be willing to pay more to to avoid going without

credit, so raising the usury limit would raise welfare for those households.

Competition is another key determinant of how much households gains from borrowing.



3

Alternatively, or additionaly, the demand for small, short term loans may have increased in the mid
1990s. The welfare reform then almost certainly increased demand for such credit as households who once

"worked" at home for the government were forced to go to work in the market.

Even with no competition — monopoly—households cannot be worse o

ff than under autarky.
The monopolist raises interest rates until the marginal revenue from higher rates equals the

marginal cost from lower loan demand:



B

(y, r) = −(r − ρ)Br(y, r) . (2)
At that monopoly interest rate,

rm, household loan demand equals B(y, rm).Household welfare
under monopoly equals

U (Br(y, r m))+δU (y −(1+ rm)Br(y, r m)). Welfare is lower under
monopoly because credit costs more and their standard of living

fluctuates more (because
costly credit reduces their demand for credit) If households borrow from the monopolist,

however, they must better o

ff than without credit.
In sum, welfare for rational households is highest if credit is available at competitive

prices. If households choose to borrow, they must be at least as well o

ff as they were
without credit. Limiting loan rates cannot raise household welfare and may reduce it.

Monopoly lenders lower household welfare, but even with a monopolist, households cannot

be worse o

ff than without credit.
The high cost of payday lending may partly re

flect fixed costs per loan. Before payday
lending, those

fixed costs may have been prohibitive; very small, short-term loans may not
have been worthwhile for banks. The payday lending technology may have lowered those



fi

xed costs, thus increasing the supply of credit to low income households demanding small
loans. That version of the genesis of payday lending suggests the innovation was welfare

improving, not predatory.





In the textbook model household welfare cannot be lower than under autarky because households

are fully informed and rational. Here we show households how can be made worse o

ff


than without credit if predatory lenders can delude households about their (households')

future income.

Suppose that by spending

C(τ ), lenders can convince a prospective borrower that her
income on payday will be

y +τ. The cost C can be interpreted variously as the cost of a guilty

5:04 PM  
Anonymous bill said...

I think debt
consolidation
is a better alternative to chapter 7 bankruptcy

8:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

mesothelioma
Mesothelioma
is a form of cancer that is almost always caused by exposure to Asbestos In this disease, malignant cells develop in the mesothelium, a protective lining that covers most of the body's internal organs. Its most common site is the pleura (outer lining of the lungs and internal chest wall), but it may also occur in the peritoneum (the lining of the abdominal cavity), the heart the pericardium (a sac that surrounds the heart or tunica vaginalis.
Most people who develop
mesothelioma
have worked on jobs where they inhaled asbestos particles, or they have been exposed to asbestos
dust and fiber in other ways. Washing the clothes of a family member who worked with asbestos
can also put a person at risk for developing Mesothelioma
Unlike lung cancer, there is no association between mesothelioma and smoking but smoking greatly increases risk of other asbestos induced cancer.Compensation via
Asbestos
funds or lawsuits is an important issue in
mesothelioma
The symptoms of
mesothelioma
include shortness of breath due to pleural effusion (fluid between the lung and the chest wall or chest wall pain, and general symptoms such as weight loss. The diagnosis may be suspected with chest X-ray and CT scan and is confirmed with a biopsy (tissue sample) and microscopic examination. A thoracoscopy inserting a tube with a camera into the chest) can be used to take biopsies. It allows the introduction of substances such as talc to obliterate the pleural space (called pleurodesis, which prevents more fluid from accumulating and pressing on the lung. Despite treatment with chemotherapy, radiation therapy or sometimes surgery, the disease carries a poor prognosis. Research about screening tests for the early detection of mesothelioma is ongoing.
Symptoms of mesothelioma may not appear until 20 to 50 years after exposure to asbestos. Shortness of breath, cough, and pain in the chest due to an accumulation of fluid in the pleural space are often symptoms of pleural
mesothelioma
Symptoms of peritoneal
mesothelioma
include weight loss and cachexia, abdominal swelling and pain due to ascites (a buildup of fluid in the abdominal cavity). Other symptoms of peritoneal
mesothelioma
may include bowel obstruction, blood clotting abnormalities, anemia, and fever. If the cancer has spread beyond the mesothelium to other parts of the body, symptoms may include pain, trouble swallowing, or swelling of the neck or face.
These symptoms may be caused by
mesothelioma
or by other, less serious conditions.
Mesothelioma
that affects the pleura can cause these signs and symptoms:
chest wall pain
pleural effusion, or fluid surrounding the lung
shortness of breath
fatigue or anemia
wheezing, hoarseness, or cough
blood in the sputum (fluid) coughed up hemoptysis
In severe cases, the person may have many tumor masses. The individual may develop a pneumothorax, or collapse of the lung The disease may metastasize, or spread, to other parts of the body.
Tumors that affect the abdominal cavity often do not cause symptoms until they are at a late stage. Symptoms include:
abdominal pain
ascites, or an abnormal buildup of fluid in the abdomen
a mass in the abdomen
problems with bowel function
weight loss
In severe cases of the disease, the following signs and symptoms may be present:
blood clots in the veins, which may cause thrombophlebitis
disseminated intravascular coagulation a disorder causing severe bleeding in many body organs
jaundice, or yellowing of the eyes and skin
low blood sugar level
pleural effusion
pulmonary emboli, or blood clots in the arteries of the lungs
severe ascites
A
mesothelioma
does not usually spread to the bone, brain, or adrenal glands. Pleural tumors are usually found only on one side of the lungs
Diagnosing
mesothelioma
is often difficult, because the symptoms are similar to those of a number of other conditions. Diagnosis begins with a review of the patient's medical history. A history of exposure to asbestos may increase clinical suspicion for
mesothelioma
A physical examination is performed, followed by chest X-ray and often lung function tests. The X-ray may reveal pleural thickening commonly seen after asbestos exposure and increases suspicion of
mesothelioma
A CT (or CAT) scan or an MRI is usually performed. If a large amount of fluid is present, abnormal cells may be detected by cytology if this fluid is aspirated with a syringe. For pleural fluid this is done by a pleural tap or chest drain, in ascites with an paracentesis or ascitic drain and in a pericardial effusion with pericardiocentesis. While absence of malignant cells on cytology does not completely exclude
mesothelioma
it makes it much more unlikely, especially if an alternative diagnosis can be made (e.g. tuberculosis, heart failure
If cytology is positive or a plaque is regarded as suspicious, a biopsy is needed to confirm a diagnosis of
mesothelioma
A doctor removes a sample of tissue for examination under a microscope by a pathologist. A biopsy may be done in different ways, depending on where the abnormal area is located. If the cancer is in the chest, the doctor may perform a thoracoscopy. In this procedure, the doctor makes a small cut through the chest wall and puts a thin, lighted tube called a thoracoscope into the chest between two ribs. Thoracoscopy allows the doctor to look inside the chest and obtain tissue samples.
If the cancer is in the abdomen, the doctor may perform a laparoscopy. To obtain tissue for examination, the doctor makes a small incision in the abdomen and inserts a special instrument into the abdominal cavity. If these procedures do not yield enough tissue, more extensive diagnostic surgery may be necessary.
There is no universally agreed protocol for screening people who have been exposed to
asbestos
Screening tests might diagnose mesothelioma earlier than conventional methods thus improving the survival prospects for patients. The serum osteopontin level might be useful in screening asbestos-exposed people for
mesothelioma
The level of soluble mesothelin-related protein is elevated in the serum of about 75% of patients at diagnosis and it has been suggested that it may be useful for screening. Doctors have begun testing the Mesomark assay which measures levels of soluble mesothelin-related proteins (SMRPs) released by diseased mesothelioma cells
Incidence
Although reported incidence rates have increased in the past 20 years, mesothelioma is still a relatively rare cancer. The incidence rate is approximately one per 1,000,000. The highest incidence is found in Britain, Australia and Belgium: 30 per 1,000,000 per year. For comparison, populations with high levels of smoking can have a lung cancer incidence of over 1,000 per 1,000,000. Incidence of malignant mesothelioma currently ranges from about 7 to 40 per 1,000,000 in industrialized Western nations, depending on the amount of asbestos exposure of the populations during the past several decades. It has been estimated that incidence may have peaked at 15 per 1,000,000 in the United States in 2004. Incidence is expected to continue increasing in other parts of the world. Mesothelioma occurs more often in men than in women and risk increases with age, but this disease can appear in either men or women at any age. Approximately one fifth to one third of all mesotheliomas are peritoneal.
Between 1940 and 1979, approximately 27.5 million people were occupationally exposed to asbestos in the United States.[ Between 1973 and 1984, there has been a threefold increase in the diagnosis of pleural mesothelioma in Caucasian males. From 1980 to the late 1990s, the death rate from mesothelioma in the USA increased from 2,000 per year to 3,000, with men four times more likely to acquire it than women. These rates may not be accurate, since it is possible that many cases of mesothelioma are misdiagnosed as adenocarcinoma of the lung, which is difficult to differentiate from mesothelioma.
Working with asbestos is the major risk factor for mesothelioma. A history of asbestos exposure exists in almost all cases. However, mesothelioma has been reported in some individuals without any known exposure to asbestos. In rare cases, mesothelioma has also been associated with irradiation, intrapleural thorium dioxide (Thorotrast), and inhalation of other fibrous silicates, such as erionite.
asbestos
is the name of a group of minerals that occur naturally as masses of strong, flexible fibers that can be separated into thin threads and woven.
asbestos
has been widely used in many industrial products, including cement, brake linings, roof shingles, flooring products, textiles, and insulation. If tiny asbestos particles float in the air, especially during the manufacturing process, they may be inhaled or swallowed, and can cause serious health problems. In addition to mesothelioma, exposure to asbestos increases the risk of lung cancer, asbestosis (a noncancerous, chronic lung ailment), and other cancers, such as those of the larynx and kidney.
The combination of smoking and
asbestos
exposure significantly increases a person's risk of developing cancer of the airways (lung cancer bronchial carcinoma). The Kent brand of cigarettes used
mesothelioma
in its filters for the first few years of production in the 1950s and some cases of
mesothelioma
have resulted. Smoking modern cigarettes does not appear to increase the risk of mesothelioma.
Some studies suggest that simian virus 40 may act as a cofactor in the development of mesothelioma.
Asbestos was known in antiquity, but it wasn't mined and widely used commercially until the late 1800s. Its use greatly increased during World War II Since the early 1940s, millions of American workers have been exposed to asbestos dust. Initially, the risks associated with
asbestos
exposure were not publicly known. However, an increased risk of developing mesothelioma was later found among shipyard workers, people who work in asbestos mines and mills, producers of asbestos products, workers in the heating and construction industries, and other tradespeople. Today, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets limits for acceptable levels of
asbestos
exposure in the workplace, and created guidelines for engineering controls and respirators, protective clothing, exposure monitoring, hygiene facilities and practices, warning signs, labeling, recordkeeping, and medical exams. By contrast, the British Government's Health and Safety Executive (HSE) states formally that any threshold for
mesothelioma
must be at a very low level and it is widely agreed that if any such threshold does exist at all, then it cannot currently be quantified. For practical purposes, therefore, HSE does not assume that any such threshold exists. People who work with
asbestos
wear personal protective equipment to lower their risk of exposure. Recent findings have shown that a mineral called erionite has been known to cause genetically pre-dispositioned individuals to have malignant mesothelioma rates much higher than those not pre-dispositioned genetically. A study in Cappadocia, Turkey has shown that 3 villiages in Turkey have death rates of 51% attributed to erionite related
mesothelioma
Exposure to
asbestos
fibres has been recognised as an occupational health hazard since the early 1900s. Several epidemiological studies have associated exposure to asbestos with the development of lesions such as asbestos bodies in the sputum, pleural plaques, diffuse pleural thickening, asbestosis, carcinoma of the lung and larynx, gastrointestinal tumours, and diffuse mesothelioma of the pleura and peritoneum.
The documented presence of
asbestos
fibres in water supplies and food products has fostered concerns about the possible impact of long-term and, as yet, unknown exposure of the general population to these fibres. Although many authorities consider brief or transient exposure to
asbestos
fibres as inconsequential and an unlikely risk factor, some epidemiologists claim that there is no risk threshold. Cases of mesothelioma have been found in people whose only exposure was breathing the air through ventilation systems. Other cases had very minimal (3 months or less) direct exposure.
Commercial
asbestos
mining at Wittenoom, Western Australia, occurred between 1945 and 1966. A cohort study of miners employed at the mine reported that while no deaths occurred within the first 10 years after crocidolite exposure, 85 deaths attributable to mesothelioma had occurred by 1985. By 1994, 539 reported deaths due to mesothelioma had been reported in Western Australia.
Family members and others living with
asbestos
workers have an increased risk of developing
mesothelioma
and possibly other asbestos related diseases. This risk may be the result of exposure to
asbestos
dust brought home on the clothing and hair of
asbestos
workers. To reduce the chance of exposing family members to asbestos fibres, asbestos workers are usually required to shower and change their clothing before leaving the workplace.
Many building materials used in both public and domestic premises prior to the banning of
asbestos
may contain
asbestos
Those performing renovation works or activities may expose themselves to asbestos dust. In the UK use of Chrysotile asbestos was banned at the end of 1999. Brown and blue
asbestos
was banned in the UK around 1985. Buildings built or renovated prior to these dates may contain asbestos materials.
For patients with localized disease, and who can tolerate a radical surgery, radiation is often given post-operatively as a consolidative treatment. The entire hemi-thorax is treated with radiation therapy, often given simultaneously with chemotherapy. Delivering radiation and chemotherapy after a radical surgery has led to extended life expectancy in selected patient populations with some patients surviving more than 5 years. As part of a curative approach to
mesothelioma
radiotherapy is also commonly applied to the sites of chest drain insertion, in order to prevent growth of the tumor along the track in the chest wall.
Although
mesothelioma
is generally resistant to curative treatment with radiotherapy alone, palliative treatment regimens are sometimes used to relieve symptoms arising from tumor growth, such as obstruction of a major blood vessel.
Radiation Therapy
when given alone with curative intent has never been shown to improve survival from
mesothelioma
The necessary radiation dose to treat mesothelioma that has not been surgically removed would be very toxic.
Chemotherapy is the only treatment for
mesothelioma
that has been proven to improve survival in randomised and controlled trials. The landmark study published in 2003 by Vogelzang and colleagues compared cisplatin chemotherapy alone with a combination of cisplatin and pemetrexed (brand name Alimta) chemotherapy) in patients who had not received chemotherapy for malignant pleural mesothelioma previously and were not candidates for more aggressive "curative" surgery. This trial was the first to report a survival advantage from chemotherapy in malignant pleural
mesothelioma
showing a statistically significant improvement in median survival from 10 months in the patients treated with cisplatin alone to 13.3 months in the combination pemetrexed group in patients who received supplementation with folate and vitamin B12. Vitamin supplementation was given to most patients in the trial and pemetrexed related side effects were significantly less in patients receiving pemetrexed when they also received daily oral folate 500mcg and intramuscular vitamin B12 1000mcg every 9 weeks compared with patients receiving pemetrexed without vitamin supplementation. The objective response rate increased from 20% in the cisplatin group to 46% in the combination pemetrexed group. Some side effects such as nausea and vomiting, stomatitis, and diarrhoea were more common in the combination pemetrexed group but only affected a minority of patients and overall the combination of pemetrexed and cisplatin was well tolerated when patients received vitamin supplementation; both quality of life and lung function tests improved in the combination pemetrexed group. In February 2004, the United States Food and Drug Administration approved pemetrexed for treatment of malignant pleural mesothelioma. However, there are still unanswered questions about the optimal use of chemotherapy, including when to start treatment, and the optimal number of cycles to give.
Cisplatin in combination with raltitrexed has shown an improvement in survival similar to that reported for pemetrexed in combination with cisplatin, but raltitrexed is no longer commercially available for this indication. For patients unable to tolerate pemetrexed, cisplatin in combination with gemcitabine or vinorelbine is an alternative, although a survival benefit has not been shown for these drugs. For patients in whom cisplatin cannot be used, carboplatin can be substituted but non-randomised data have shown lower response rates and high rates of haematological toxicity for carboplatin-based combinations, albeit with similar survival figures to patients receiving cisplatin.
In January 2009, the United States FDA approved using conventional therapies such as surgery in combination with radiation and or chemotherapy on stage I or II Mesothelioma after research conducted by a nationwide study by Duke University concluded an almost 50 point increase in remission rates.
Treatment regimens involving immunotherapy have yielded variable results. For example, intrapleural inoculation of Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) in an attempt to boost the immune response, was found to be of no benefit to the patient (while it may benefit patients with bladder cancer.
mesothelioma
cells proved susceptible to in vitro lysis by LAK cells following activation by interleukin-2 (IL-2), but patients undergoing this particular therapy experienced major side effects. Indeed, this trial was suspended in view of the unacceptably high levels of IL-2 toxicity and the severity of side effects such as fever and cachexia. Nonetheless, other trials involving interferon alpha have proved more encouraging with 20% of patients experiencing a greater than 50% reduction in tumor mass combined with minimal side effects.
A procedure known as heated intraoperative intraperitoneal chemotherapy was developed by Paul Sugarbaker at the Washington Cancer Institute. The surgeon removes as much of the tumor as possible followed by the direct administration of a chemotherapy agent, heated to between 40 and 48°C, in the abdomen. The fluid is perfused for 60 to 120 minutes and then drained.
This technique permits the administration of high concentrations of selected drugs into the abdominal and pelvic surfaces. Heating the chemotherapy treatment increases the penetration of the drugs into tissues. Also, heating itself damages the malignant cells more than the normal cells.

What is the mesothelium?
The mesothelium is a membrane that covers and protects most of the internal organs of the body. It is composed of two layers of cells: One layer immediately surrounds the organ; the other forms a sac around it. The mesothelium produces a lubricating fluid that is released between these layers, allowing moving organs (such as the beating heart and the expanding and contracting lungs to glide easily against adjacent structures.
The mesothelium has different names, depending on its location in the body. The peritoneum is the mesothelial tissue that covers most of the organs in the abdominal cavity. The pleura is the membrane that surrounds the lungs and lines the wall of the chest cavity. The pericardium covers and protects the heart. The
mesothelioma
tissue surrounding the male internal reproductive organs is called the tunica vaginalis testis. The tunica serosa uteri covers the internal reproductive organs in women.
What is mesothelioma?
mesothelioma
(cancer of the mesothelium) is a disease in which cells of the mesothelium become abnormal and divide without control or order. They can invade and damage nearby tissues and organs.
cancer
cells can also metastasize (spread) from their original site to other parts of the body. Most cases of mesothelioma begin in the pleura or peritoneum.
How common is mesothelioma?
Although reported incidence rates have increased in the past 20 years, mesothelioma is still a relatively rare cancer. About 2,000 new cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed in the United States each year. Mesothelioma occurs more often in men than in women and risk increases with age, but this disease can appear in either men or women at any age.
What are the risk factors for mesothelioma?
Working with asbestos is the major risk factor for mesothelioma. A history of asbestos exposure at work is reported in about 70 percent to 80 percent of all cases. However, mesothelioma has been reported in some individuals without any known exposure to asbestos.
Asbestos is the name of a group of minerals that occur naturally as masses of strong, flexible fibers that can be separated into thin threads and woven. Asbestos has been widely used in many industrial products, including cement, brake linings, roof shingles, flooring products, textiles, and insulation. If tiny asbestos particles float in the air, especially during the manufacturing process, they may be inhaled or swallowed, and can cause serious health problems. In addition to mesothelioma, exposure to asbestos increases the risk of lung cancer, asbestosis (a noncancerous, chronic lung ailment), and other cancers, such as those of the larynx and kidney.
Smoking does not appear to increase the risk of mesothelioma. However, the combination of smoking and asbestos exposure significantly increases a person's risk of developing cancer of the air passageways in the lung.
Who is at increased risk for developing mesothelioma?
Asbestos has been mined and used commercially since the late 1800s. Its use greatly increased during World War II. Since the early 1940s, millions of American workers have been exposed to asbestos dust. Initially, the risks associated with asbestos exposure were not known. However, an increased risk of developing mesothelioma was later found among shipyard workers, people who work in asbestos mines and mills, producers of asbestos products, workers in the heating and construction industries, and other tradespeople. Today, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets limits for acceptable levels of asbestos exposure in the workplace. People who work with asbestos wear personal protective equipment to lower their risk of exposure.
The risk of asbestos-related disease increases with heavier exposure to asbestos and longer exposure time. However, some individuals with only brief exposures have developed mesothelioma On the other hand, not all workers who are heavily exposed develop asbestos-related diseases.
There is some evidence that family members and others living with asbestos workers have an increased risk of developing mesothelioma, and possibly other asbestos-related diseases. This risk may be the result of exposure to
asbestos
dust brought home on the clothing and hair of
asbestos
workers. To reduce the chance of exposing family members to
asbestos
fibers, asbestos workers are usually required to shower and change their clothing before leaving the workplace.
What are the symptoms of mesothelioma?
Symptoms of mesothelioma may not appear until 30 to 50 years after exposure to
asbestos
Shortness of breath and pain in the chest due to an accumulation of fluid in the pleura are often symptoms of pleural mesothelioma. Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include weight loss and abdominal pain and swelling due to a buildup of fluid in the abdomen. Other symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma may include bowel obstruction blood clotting abnormalities, anemia, and fever. If the cancer has spread beyond the mesothelium to other parts of the body, symptoms may include pain, trouble swallowing, or swelling of the neck or face.
These symptoms may be caused by
mesothelioma
or by other, less serious conditions. It is important to see a doctor about any of these symptoms. Only a doctor can make a diagnosis
How is
mesothelioma
diagnosed?
Diagnosing mesothelioma is often difficult, because the symptoms are similar to those of a number of other conditions. Diagnosis begins with a review of the patient's medical history, including any history of asbestos exposure. A complete physical examination may be performed, including x-rays of the chest or abdomen and lung function tests. A CT (or CAT) scan or an MRI may also be useful. A CT scan is a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body created by a computer linked to an x-ray machine. In an MRI, a powerful magnet linked to a computer is used to make detailed pictures of areas inside the body. These pictures are viewed on a monitor and can also be printed.
A biopsy is needed to confirm a diagnosis of mesothelioma. In a biopsy, a surgeon or a medical oncologist (a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating cancer) removes a sample of tissue for examination under a microscope by a pathologist. A biopsy may be done in different ways, depending on where the abnormal area is located. If the
cancer
is in the chest, the doctor may perform a thoracoscopy. In this procedure, the doctor makes a small cut through the chest wall and puts a thin, lighted tube called a thoracoscope into the chest between two ribs. Thoracoscopy allows the doctor to look inside the chest and obtain tissue samples. If the
cancer
is in the abdomen, the doctor may perform a peritoneoscopy. To obtain tissue for examination, the doctor makes a small opening in the abdomen and inserts a special instrument called a peritoneoscope into the abdominal cavity. If these procedures do not yield enough tissue, more extensive diagnostic surgery may be necessary.
If the diagnosis is mesothelioma, the doctor will want to learn the stage (or extent) of the disease. Staging involves more tests in a careful attempt to find out whether the cancer has spread and, if so, to which parts of the body. Knowing the stage of the disease helps the doctor plan treatment.
Mesothelioma
is described as localized if the cancer is found only on the membrane surface where it originated. It is classified as advanced if it has spread beyond the original membrane surface to other parts of the body, such as the lymph nodes, lungs, chest wall, or abdominal organs.
How is
mesothelioma
treated?
Treatment for mesothelioma depends on the location of the
cancer
the stage of the disease, and the patient's age and general health. Standard treatment options include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Sometimes, these treatments are combined.
Surgery is a common treatment for
mesothelioma
The doctor may remove part of the lining of the chest or abdomen and some of the tissue around it. For cancer of the pleura (pleural
mesothelioma
a lung may be removed in an operation called a pneumonectomy. Sometimes part of the diaphragm, the muscle below the lungs that helps with breathing, is also removed.
Stereo Tactic Radiation Therapy
also called radiotherapy, involves the use of high-energy rays to kill
cancer
cells and shrink tumors Radiation therapy affects the
cancer
cells only in the treated area. The radiation may come from a machine (external radiation) or from putting materials that produce radiation through thin plastic tubes into the area where the
cancer
cells are found (internal radiation therapy).
Chemotherapy
is the use of anticancer drugs to kill cancer cells throughout the body. Most drugs used to treat
mesothelioma
are given by injection into a vein (intravenous, or IV). Doctors are also studying the effectiveness of putting chemotherapy directly into the chest or abdomen (intracavitary chemotherapy).
To relieve symptoms and control pain, the doctor may use a needle or a thin tube to drain fluid that has built up in the chest or abdomen. The procedure for removing fluid from the chest is called thoracentesis. Removal of fluid from the abdomen is called paracentesis. Drugs may be given through a tube in the chest to prevent more fluid from accumulating. Radiation Therapy
and surgery may also be helpful in relieving symptoms.

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