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Liability structure in small-scale finance : evidence from a natural experimen

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

Abstract

Microfinance, the provision of small individual and business loans, has witnessed dramatic growth, reaching over 150 million borrowers worldwide. Much of its success has been attributed to overcoming the challenges of information asymmetries in uncollateralized lending. Yet, very little is known about the optimal contract structure of such loans -- 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. The analysis finds compelling evidence that contract structure matters: for the same borrower, required monthly loan installments are 6 percent less likely to be missed under the group liability setting, relative to individual liability. In addition, compulsory savings deposits are 19 percent less likely to be missed under group liability contracts.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5427.

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Date of creation: 01 Sep 2010
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5427

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Keywords: Debt Markets; Bankruptcy and Resolution of Financial Distress; Access to Finance; Microfinance; Deposit Insurance;

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  1. Laibson, David, 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 443-77, May.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Andrew F. Newman, 1990. "Occupational Choice and the Process of Development," Discussion Papers 911, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  5. 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.
  6. Feigenberg, Benjamin & Field, Erica M. & Pande, Rohini, 2010. "Building Social Capital through Microfinance," Working Paper Series rwp10-019, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  7. 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.
  8. Raghuram G. Rajan & Luigi Zingales, 1996. "Financial Dependence and Growth," NBER Working Papers 5758, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. 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.
  10. Beck, H.T.L. & Demirgüç-Kunt , A. & Peria, M.M, 2007. "Reaching out: Access to and use of banking services across countries," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-3125425, Tilburg University.
  11. Xavier Giné & Dean Karlan, 2009. "Group versus Individual Liability: Long Term Evidence from Philippine Microcredit Lending Groups," Working Papers 970, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  12. 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.
  13. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1995. "Group lending, repayment incentives and social collateral," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 1-18, February.
  14. Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1990. "Peer Monitoring and Credit Markets," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 4(3), pages 351-66, September.
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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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