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Referrals: Peer Screening and Enforcement in a Consumer Credit Field Experiment

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  • Gharad Bryan
  • Dean Karlan
  • Jonathan Zinman

Abstract

Empirical evidence on peer intermediation lags behind both theory and practice in which lenders use peers to mitigate adverse selection and moral hazard. Using a referral incentive under individual liability, we develop a two-stage field experiment that permits separate identification of peer screening and enforcement. Our key contribution is to allow for borrower heterogeneity in both ex ante repayment type and ex post susceptibility to social pressure. Our method allows identification of selection on repayment likelihood, selection on susceptibility to social pressure, and loan enforcement. Implementing our method in South Africa we find no evidence of screening but large enforcement effects. (JEL D14, D82, G21, O12, O16)

Suggested Citation

  • Gharad Bryan & Dean Karlan & Jonathan Zinman, 2015. "Referrals: Peer Screening and Enforcement in a Consumer Credit Field Experiment," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(3), pages 174-204, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmic:v:7:y:2015:i:3:p:174-204
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/mic.20130234
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Xavier Gine & Jessica Goldberg & Dean Yang, 2012. "Credit Market Consequences of Improved Personal Identification: Field Experimental Evidence from Malawi," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(6), pages 2923-2954, October.
    2. Karlan, Dean & Morten, Melanie & Zinman, Jonathan, 2012. "A Personal Touch: Text Messaging for Loan Repayment," Working Papers 102, Yale University, Department of Economics.
    3. Banerjee, Abhijit & Duflo, Esther, 2004. "Do Firms Want to Borrow More? Testing Credit Constraints Using a Directed Lending Program," CEPR Discussion Papers 4681, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. 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 3574-3593, December.
    5. 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 11-51, February.
    6. Stefan Klonner & Ashok Rai, 2008. "Cosigners as Collateral," Center for Development Economics 2008-08, Department of Economics, Williams College.
    7. 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 274-298, April.
    8. Ghatak, Maitreesh, 1999. "Group lending, local information and peer selection," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 27-50, October.
    9. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Timothy Besley & Timothy W. Guinnane, 1994. "Thy Neighbor's Keeper: The Design of a Credit Cooperative with Theory and a Test," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(2), pages 491-515.
    10. Bond, Philip & Rai, Ashok S., 2008. "Cosigned vs. group loans," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(1-2), pages 58-80, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Biener, Christian & Eling, Martin & Landmann, Andreas & Pradhan, Shailee, 2018. "Can group incentives alleviate moral hazard? The role of pro-social preferences," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 230-249.
    2. repec:bla:rdevec:v:21:y:2017:i:4:p:e67-e87 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:pid:journl:v:55:y:2016:i:4:p:331-348 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O16 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance

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