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Repayment incentives and the distribution of gains from group lending

Author

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  • Baland, Jean-Marie
  • Somanathan, Rohini
  • Wahhaj, Zaki

Abstract

Group loans with joint liability are a distinguishing feature of many microfinance programs. While such lending benefits millions of borrowers, major lending institutions acknowledge its limited impact among the very poor and have shifted towards individual loans. This paper attempts to explain this trend by exploring the relationship between borrower wealth and the benefits from group lending when access to credit is limited by strategic default. In our model, individuals of heterogeneous wealth face a given investment opportunity so poor investors demand larger loans. We show that the largest loan offered as an individual contract cannot be supported as a group loan. Joint liability cannot therefore extend credit outreach in the absence of additional social sanctions within groups. We also find that the benefits from group loans are increasing in borrower wealth and that optimal group size depends on project characteristics. By allowing for multi-person groups and wealth heterogeneity in the population, the paper extends the standard framework to analyze joint liability and contributes to an understanding of the conditions under which microcredit can reduce poverty.

Suggested Citation

  • Baland, Jean-Marie & Somanathan, Rohini & Wahhaj, Zaki, 2013. "Repayment incentives and the distribution of gains from group lending," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 131-139.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:105:y:2013:i:c:p:131-139
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jdeveco.2013.07.008
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Jean-Marie Baland & Rohini Somanathan & Zaki Wahhaj, 2014. "Group Lending and Endogenous Social Sanctions," Studies in Economics 1415, School of Economics, University of Kent.
    2. Ahlin, Christian, 2015. "The role of group size in group lending," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 140-155.
    3. Jean-Marie Baland & Rohini Somanathan & Lore Vandewalle, 2011. "Socially Disadvantaged Groups and Microfinance in India," Working Papers 1117, University of Namur, Department of Economics.
    4. P Simmons (York) & N Tantisantiwong (Southampton), 2014. "Default and Risk Premia in Microfinance Group Lending," Discussion Papers 14/28, Department of Economics, University of York.
    5. Fetzer, Thiemo, 2016. "Commercialization and the Decline of Joint Liability Microcredit," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 1119, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    6. Ahlin, Christian & Waters, Brian, 2016. "Dynamic microlending under adverse selection: Can it rival group lending?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 237-257.
    7. Baland, Jean-Marie & Gangadharan, Lata & Maitra, Pushkar & Somanathan, Rohini, 2017. "Repayment and exclusion in a microfinance experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 137(C), pages 176-190.
    8. de Quidt, Jonathan & Fetzer, Thiemo & Ghatak, Maitreesh, 2016. "Group lending without joint liability," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 217-236.
    9. Janssens, Wendy & Kramer, Berber, 2016. "The social dilemma of microinsurance: Free-riding in a framed field experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 131(PB), pages 47-61.
    10. Bulte, Erwin & Wang, Ruixin & Zhang, Xiaobo, 2017. "Forced gifts: The burden of being a friend," IFPRI discussion papers 1615, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    11. Peter Simmons & Nongnuch Tantisantiwong, 2018. "Evaluation of Individual and Group Lending under Asymmetric information," Discussion Papers 18/01, Department of Economics, University of York.
    12. repec:cep:stieop:44 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Allen, Treb, 2016. "Optimal (partial) group liability in microfinance lending," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 201-216.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Microcredit; Joint-liability; Group lending; Repayment incentives; Social sanctions;

    JEL classification:

    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • 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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