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Liability Structure in Small-Scale Finance: Evidence from a Natural Experiment

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  • Fenella Carpena
  • Shawn Cole
  • Jeremy Shapiro
  • Bilal Zia

Abstract

Microfinance, the provision of small individual and business loans, has experienced dramatic growth, reaching over 150 million borrowers worldwide. Much of the success of microfinance has been attributed to attempts to overcome the challenges of information asymmetries in uncollateralized lending. However, very little is known about the optimal contract structure of these loans, and there is substantial variation across lenders, even within a particular setting. This paper exploits a plausibly exogenous change in the liability structure offered by a microfinance program in India, which shifted from individual to group liability lending. We find evidence that the lending model matters: for the same borrower, the required monthly loan installments are 11 percent less likely to be missed under the group liability setting in comparison with individual liability. In addition, compulsory savings deposits are 20 percent less likely to be missed under group liability contracts. Copyright 2013, Oxford University Press.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by World Bank Group in its journal The World Bank Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 27 (2013)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 437-469

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Handle: RePEc:oup:wbecrv:v:27:y:2013:i:3:p:437-469

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  1. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1995. "Group lending, repayment incentives and social collateral," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 1-18, February.
  2. Feigenberg, Benjamin & Field, Erica Marie & Pande, Rohini, 2010. "Building Social Capital Through Microfinance," Scholarly Articles 4449105, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
  3. Christian Ahlin & RobertM. Townsend, 2007. "Using Repayment Data to Test Across Models of Joint Liability Lending," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(517), pages F11-F51, 02.
  4. Attanasio, Orazio & Augsburg, Britta & De Haas, Ralph & Fitzsimons, Emla & Harmgart, Heike, 2011. "Group lending or individual lending? Evidence from a randomised field experiment in Mongolia," MPRA Paper 35439, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Laibson, David, 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 443-77, May.
  6. Beck, Thorsten & Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Martinez Peria, Maria Soledad, 2005. "Reaching out : access to and use of banking services across countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3754, The World Bank.
  7. Armendariz de Aghion, Beatriz, 1999. "On the design of a credit agreement with peer monitoring," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 79-104, October.
  8. Banerjee, Abhijit V & Newman, Andrew F, 1993. "Occupational Choice and the Process of Development," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(2), pages 274-98, April.
  9. Karlan, Dean & Gine, Xavier, 2009. "Group versus Individual Liability: Long Term Evidence from Philippine Microcredit Lending Groups," Working Papers 61, Yale University, Department of Economics.
  10. Sharma, Manohar & Zeller, Manfred, 1997. "Repayment performance in group-based credit programs in Bangladesh: An empirical analysis," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 25(10), pages 1731-1742, October.
  11. Ambec, Stefan & Treich, Nicolas, 2007. "Roscas as financial agreements to cope with self-control problems," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 120-137, January.
  12. Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1990. "Peer Monitoring and Credit Markets," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 4(3), pages 351-66, September.
  13. Raghuram G. Rajan & Luigi Zingales, 1996. "Financial Dependence and Growth," NBER Working Papers 5758, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Guinnane, T. & Banerjee, A. & Besley, T., 1993. "Thy Neighbor's Keeper: the Design of a Credit Cooperative with Theory and a Test," Papers 705, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
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Cited by:
  1. Attanasio, Orazio & Augsburg, Britta & De Haas, Ralph & Fitzsimons, Emla & Harmgart, Heike, 2011. "Group lending or individual lending? Evidence from a randomised field experiment in Mongolia," MPRA Paper 35439, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Giné, Xavier & Karlan, Dean S., 2014. "Group versus individual liability: Short and long term evidence from Philippine microcredit lending groups," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 65-83.

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