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Microfinance Games

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Author Info

  • Dean Karlan

    ()
    (Economic Growth Center, Yale University)

  • Xavier Gine

    ()
    (World Bank)

  • Jonathan Morduch

    ()
    (New York University)

  • Pamela Jakiela

    (University of California, Berkeley)

Abstract

Microfinance has been heralded as an effective way to address imperfections in credit markets. From a theoretical perspective, however, the success of microfinance contracts has puzzling elements. In particular, the group-based mechanisms often employed are vulnerable to free-riding and collusion, although they can also reduce moral hazard and improve selection. We created an experimental economics laboratory in a large urban market in Lima, Peru and over seven months conducted eleven different games that allow us to unpack microfinance mechanisms in a systematic way. We find that risk-taking broadly conforms to predicted patterns, but that behavior is safer than optimal. The results help to explain why pioneering microfinance institutions have been moving away from group-based contracts.

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File URL: http://www.econ.yale.edu/growth_pdf/cdp936.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Economic Growth Center, Yale University in its series Working Papers with number 936.

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Length: 46 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:egc:wpaper:936

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Related research

Keywords: Microfinance; Group Lending; Information Asymmetries; Contract Theory; Experimental Economics;

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References

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  1. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 1999. "A theory of fairness, competition, and cooperation," Munich Reprints in Economics 20650, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  2. Ghatak, Maitreesh, 2000. "Screening by the Company You Keep: Joint Liability Lending and the Peer Selection Effect," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(465), pages 601-31, July.
  3. John List & David Reiley, 2008. "Field experiments," Artefactual Field Experiments 00091, The Field Experiments Website.
  4. Abigail Barr & Bill Kinsey, 2002. "Do men really have no shame?," CSAE Working Paper Series 2002-05, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
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  7. Dean Karlan & Jonathan Zinman, 2005. "Observing unobservables: identifying information asymmetries with a consumer-credit field experiment," Proceedings 961, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  8. John A. List, 2003. "Neoclassical Theory Versus Prospect Theory: Evidence from the Marketplace," NBER Working Papers 9736, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  13. Giné, Xavier & Karlan, Dean S., 2007. "Group versus Individual Liability: A Field Experiment in the Philippines," CEPR Discussion Papers 6193, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. Wydick, Bruce, 1999. "Can Social Cohesion Be Harnessed to Repair Market Failures? Evidence from Group Lending in Guatemala," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(457), pages 463-75, July.
  15. de Aghion, Beatriz Armendariz & Gollier, Christian, 2000. "Peer Group Formation in an Adverse Selection Model," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(465), pages 632-43, July.
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  19. Dean S. Karlan, 2005. "Using Experimental Economics to Measure Social Capital And Predict Financial Decisions," Working Papers 909, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  20. Laffont, Jean-Jacques & N'Guessan, Tchetche, 2000. "Group lending with adverse selection," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(4-6), pages 773-784, May.
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  23. Karlan, Dean & Zinman, Jonathan, 2009. "Expanding Microenterprise Credit Access: Randomized Supply Decisions to Estimate the Impacts in Manila," Working Papers 68, Yale University, Department of Economics.
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  25. Kennedy, Bruce P. & Kawachi, Ichiro & Prothrow-Stith, Deborah & Lochner, Kimberly & Gupta, Vanita, 1998. "Social capital, income inequality, and firearm violent crime," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 7-17, July.
  26. Beatriz Armendáriz de Aghion & Jonathan Morduch, 2000. "Microfinance Beyond Group Lending," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 8(2), pages 401-420, July.
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  30. 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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