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Group versus individual liability : a field experiment in the Philippines

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  • Gine, Xavier
  • Karlan, Dean S.

Abstract

Group liability is often portrayed as the key innovation that led to the explosion of the microcredit movement, which started with the Grameen Bank in the 1970s and continues on today with hundreds of institutions around the world. Group lending claims to improve repayment rates and lower transaction costs when lending to the poor by providing incentives for peers to screen, monitor, and enforce each other's loans. However, some argue that group liability creates excessive pressure and discourages good clients from borrowing, jeopardizing both growth and sustainability. Therefore, it remains unclear whether group liability improves the lender’s overall profitability and the poor's access to financial markets. The authors worked with a bank in the Philippines to conduct a field experiment to examine these issues. They randomly assigned half of the 169 pre-existing group liability'centers'of approximately twenty women to individual-liability centers (treatment) and kept the other half as-is with group liability (control). We find that the conversion to individual liability does not affect the repayment rate, and leads to higher growth in center size by attracting new clients.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 4008.

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Date of creation: 01 Sep 2006
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4008

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Keywords: Banks&Banking Reform; Knowledge Economy; Banking Law; Education for the Knowledge Economy; Contract Law;

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References

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  1. Jonathan Morduch, 1999. "The Microfinance Promise," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(4), pages 1569-1614, December.
  2. Jean-Jacques Laffont, 2000. "Collusion and Group Lending with Adverse Selection," Development Working Papers 147, Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano.
  3. Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1990. "Peer Monitoring and Credit Markets," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 4(3), pages 351-66, September.
  4. Dean Karlan & Xavier Gine & Jonathan Morduch & Pamela Jakiela, 2006. "Microfinance Games," Working Papers 936, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  5. Besley, T. & Coate, S., 1991. "Group Lending, Repayment Incentives And Social Collateral," Papers 152, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Development Studies.
  6. Dean S. Karlan, 2005. "Using Experimental Economics to Measure Social Capital and Predict Financial Decisions," Working Papers 182, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies..
  7. Beatriz Armendariz & Jonathan Morduch, 2007. "The Economics of Microfinance," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262512017, December.
  8. Dean S. Karlan & Jonathan Zinman, 2005. "Observing Unobservables: Identifying Information Asymmetries with a Consumer Credit Field Experiment," Working Papers 911, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  9. Karlan, Dean S., 2007. "Social Connections and Group Banking," CEPR Discussion Papers 6194, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Ahlin, Christian & Townsend, Robert M., 2007. "Selection into and across credit contracts: Theory and field research," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 136(2), pages 665-698, February.
  11. Christian Ahlin & Robert Townsend, 2002. "Using Repayment Data to Test Across Models of Joint Liability Lending," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0227, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  12. Laffont, Jean-Jacques & N'Guessan, Tchetche, 2000. "Group lending with adverse selection," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(4-6), pages 773-784, May.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  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.
  16. Ghatak, Maitreesh, 1999. "Group lending, local information and peer selection," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 27-50, October.
  17. 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.
  18. Rahman, Aminur, 1999. "Micro-credit initiatives for equitable and sustainable development: Who pays?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 67-82, January.
  19. Richard Montgomery, 1996. "Disciplining or protecting the poor? Avoiding the social costs of peer pressure in micro-credit schemes," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 8(2), pages 289-305.
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  1. We should so blatantly do more randomised trials on policy
    by Ben Goldacre in Bad Science on 2011-05-14 16:30:00
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