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You Can Pick Your Friends, But You Need to Watch Them: Loan Screening and Enforcement in a Referrals Field Experiment

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  • Gharad Bryan

    ()
    (London School of Economics)

  • Dean Karlan

    ()
    (Economic Growth Center, Yale University)

  • Jonathan Zinman

    ()
    (Dartmouth College)

Abstract

We examine a randomized trial that allows separate identification of peer screening and enforcement of credit contracts. A South African microlender offered half its clients a bonus for referring a friend who repaid a loan. For the remaining clients, the bonus was conditional on loan approval. After approval, the repayment incentive was removed from half the referrers in the first group and added for half those in the second. We find large enforcement effects, a $12 (100 Rand) incentive reduced default by 10 percentage points from a base of 20%. In contrast, we find no evidence of screening.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Economic Growth Center, Yale University in its series Working Papers with number 1009.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:egc:wpaper:1009

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Keywords: Information asymmetries; credit market failures; peer networks; social capital; social networks;

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  1. Stefan Klonner & Ashok Rai, 2008. "Cosigners as Collateral," Center for Development Economics 2008-08, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  2. Ghatak, Maitreesh, 1999. "Group lending, local information and peer selection," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 27-50, October.
  3. Dean Karlan & Xavier Giné, 2007. "Group Versus Individual Liability: A Field Experiment in the Philippines," Working Papers 111, Center for Global Development.
  4. Banerjee, Abhijit V & Besley, Timothy & Guinnane, Timothy W, 1994. "Thy Neighbor's Keeper: The Design of a Credit Cooperative with Theory and a Test," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(2), pages 491-515, May.
  5. Oded Galor & Joseph Zeira, 2013. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," Working Papers 2013-12, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  6. Karlan, Dean S. & Zinman, Jonathan, 2007. "Observing Unobservables: Identifying Information Asymmetries with a Consumer Credit Field Experiment," CEPR Discussion Papers 6182, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Xavier Gine & Pamela Jakiela & Dean Karlan & Jonathan Morduch, 2006. "Microfinance Games," Working Papers 2102, The Field Experiments Website.
  8. Lori Beaman & Jeremy Magruder, 2012. "Who Gets the Job Referral? Evidence from a Social Networks Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(7), pages 3574-93, December.
  9. Bond, Philip & Rai, Ashok S., 2008. "Cosigned vs. group loans," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(1-2), pages 58-80, February.
  10. Chassang, Sylvain & Padró i Miquel, Gerard & Snowberg, Erik, 2010. "Selective Trials: A Principal-Agent Approach to Randomized Controlled Experiments," CEPR Discussion Papers 8003, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Nava Ashraf & James Berry & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2007. "Can Higher Prices Stimulate Product Use? Evidence from a Field Experiment in Zambia," NBER Working Papers 13247, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Dean S. Karlan, 2005. "Social Connections and Group Banking," Working Papers 181, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies..
  13. Liran Einav & Amy Finkelstein & Stephen Ryan & Paul Schrimpf & Mark Cullen, 2011. "Selection on Moral Hazard in Health Insurance," Discussion Papers 10-027, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  14. Orazio Attanasio & Britta Augsburg & Ralph de Haas & Emla Fitzsimons & Heike Harmgart, 2011. "Group lending or individual lending? Evidence from a randomised field experiment in Mongolia," IFS Working Papers W11/20, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  15. Jessica Cohen & Pascaline Dupas, 2010. "Free Distribution or Cost-Sharing? Evidence from a Randomized Malaria Prevention Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 125(1), pages 1-45, February.
  16. Ashok S. Rai & Tomas Sj–str–m, 2004. "Is Grameen Lending Efficient? Repayment Incentives and Insurance in Village Economies," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 71(1), pages 217-234, 01.
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