IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/deveco/v127y2017icp306-337.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Financing smallholder agriculture: An experiment with agent-intermediated microloans in India

Author

Listed:
  • Maitra, Pushkar
  • Mitra, Sandip
  • Mookherjee, Dilip
  • Motta, Alberto
  • Visaria, Sujata

Abstract

We explore the hypothesis that traditional joint-liability microfinance programs fail to increase borrower incomes in part because they cannot screen out unproductive borrowers. In randomly selected villages in West Bengal, India, we implemented trader-agent-intermediated lending (TRAIL), in which local trader-lender agents were incentivized through repayment-based commissions to select borrowers for individual liability loans. In other randomly selected villages, we organized a group-based lending (GBL) program in which individuals formed 5-member groups and received joint liability loans. TRAIL loans increased the production of the leading cash crop by 27% and farm incomes by 22%. GBL loans had insignificant effects. We develop and test a theoretical model of borrower selection and incentives. Farmers selected by the TRAIL agents were more able than those who self-selected into the GBL scheme; this pattern of selection explains at least 30–40% of the observed difference in income impacts.

Suggested Citation

  • Maitra, Pushkar & Mitra, Sandip & Mookherjee, Dilip & Motta, Alberto & Visaria, Sujata, 2017. "Financing smallholder agriculture: An experiment with agent-intermediated microloans in India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 306-337.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:127:y:2017:i:c:p:306-337
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jdeveco.2017.03.001
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0304387817300251
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
    2. repec:tpr:restat:v:100:y:2018:i:1:p:1-13 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Foster, Andrew D & Rosenzweig, Mark R, 1996. "Technical Change and Human-Capital Returns and Investments: Evidence from the Green Revolution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 931-953, September.
    4. Oriana Bandiera & Imran Rasul, 2006. "Social Networks and Technology Adoption in Northern Mozambique," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(514), pages 869-902, October.
    5. 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 601-631, July.
    6. Jain, Sanjay & Mansuri, Ghazala, 2003. "A little at a time: the use of regularly scheduled repayments in microfinance programs," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 253-279, October.
    7. Benjamin Feigenberg & Erica Field & Rohini Pande, 2013. "The Economic Returns to Social Interaction: Experimental Evidence from Microfinance," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 80(4), pages 1459-1483.
    8. By Paolo Casini, 2015. "Competitive microcredit markets: differentiation and ex ante incentives for multiple borrowing," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(4), pages 1015-1033.
    9. Antoine Faure-Grimaud & Jean-Jacques Laffont & David Martimort, 2003. "Collusion, Delegation and Supervision with Soft Information," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(2), pages 253-279.
    10. Ghatak, Maitreesh, 1999. "Group lending, local information and peer selection," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 27-50, October.
    11. Sandip Mitra & Dilip Mookherjee & Maximo Torero & Sujata Visaria, 2013. "Asymmetric Information and Middleman Margins: An Experiment with West Bengal Potato Farmers," Working Papers id:5545, eSocialSciences.
    12. Fischer, Gregory, 2013. "Contract structure, risk sharing and investment choice," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 46796, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    13. Nahum D. Melumad & Dilip Mookherjee & Stefan Reichelstein, 1995. "Hierarchical Decentralization of Incentive Contracts," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 26(4), pages 654-672, Winter.
    14. Sergio Navajas & Jonathan Conning & Claudio Gonzalez-Vega, 2003. "Lending technologies, competition and consolidation in the market for microfinance in Bolivia," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(6), pages 747-770.
    15. Jain, Sanjay, 1999. "Symbiosis vs. crowding-out: the interaction of formal and informal credit markets in developing countries," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 419-444, August.
    16. Greg Fischer, 2013. "Contract Structure, Risk‐Sharing, and Investment Choice," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 81(3), pages 883-939, May.
    17. Jean-Jacques Laffont & David Martimort, 1998. "Collusion and Delegation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 29(2), pages 280-305, Summer.
    18. Timothy G. Conley & Christopher R. Udry, 2010. "Learning about a New Technology: Pineapple in Ghana," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(1), pages 35-69, March.
    19. Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee, 2013. "Microcredit Under the Microscope: What Have We Learned in the Past Two Decades, and What Do We Need to Know?," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 5(1), pages 487-519, May.
    20. Olley, G Steven & Pakes, Ariel, 1996. "The Dynamics of Productivity in the Telecommunications Equipment Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(6), pages 1263-1297, November.
    21. Celik, Gorkem, 2009. "Mechanism design with collusive supervision," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(1), pages 69-95, January.
    22. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1995. "Group lending, repayment incentives and social collateral," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 1-18, February.
    23. Joseph P. Kaboski & Robert M. Townsend, 2011. "A Structural Evaluation of a Large‐Scale Quasi‐Experimental Microfinance Initiative," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(5), pages 1357-1406, September.
    24. Gabriel Fuentes, 1996. "The use of village agents in rural credit delivery," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(2), pages 188-209.
    25. Floro, Maria Sagrario & Ray, Debraj, 1997. "Vertical Links between Formal and Informal Financial Institutions," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 1(1), pages 34-56, February.
    26. Brishti Guha & Prabal Roy Chowdhury, 2012. "Borrower Targeting under Micro-finance Competition with Motivated MFIs," Working Papers 05-2012, Singapore Management University, School of Economics.
    27. Alberto Motta, 2009. "Collusion and Selective Supervision," "Marco Fanno" Working Papers 0093, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche "Marco Fanno".
    28. Abhijit Banerjee & Dean Karlan & Jonathan Zinman, 2015. "Six Randomized Evaluations of Microcredit: Introduction and Further Steps," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(1), pages 1-21, January.
    29. James Levinsohn & Amil Petrin, 2003. "Estimating Production Functions Using Inputs to Control for Unobservables," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(2), pages 317-341.
    30. Sandip Mitra & Dilip Mookherjee & Maximo Torero & Sujata Visaria, 2018. "Asymmetric Information and Middleman Margins: An Experiment with Indian Potato Farmers," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 100(1), pages 1-13, March.
    31. Dilip Mookherjee & Masatoshi Tsumagari, 2004. "The Organization of Supplier Networks: Effects of Delegation and Intermediation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(4), pages 1179-1219, July.
    32. Jeffrey R Kling & Jeffrey B Liebman & Lawrence F Katz, 2007. "Experimental Analysis of Neighborhood Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(1), pages 83-119, January.
    33. repec:pri:rpdevs:morduch_microfinance_poor is not listed on IDEAS
    34. Jean-Jacques Laffont & David Martimort, 2000. "Mechanism Design with Collusion and Correlation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(2), pages 309-342, March.
    35. Jonathan Morduch, 1998. "Does Microfinance Really Help the Poor? New Evidence from Flagship Programs in Bangladesh," Working Papers 198, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies..
    36. 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.
    37. McIntosh, Craig & Wydick, Bruce, 2005. "Competition and microfinance," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(2), pages 271-298, December.
    38. Erica Field & Rohini Pande & John Papp & Natalia Rigol, 2013. "Does the Classic Microfinance Model Discourage Entrepreneurship among the Poor? Experimental Evidence from India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(6), pages 2196-2226, October.
    39. Feder, Gershon, 1985. "The relation between farm size and farm productivity : The role of family labor, supervision and credit constraints," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2-3), pages 297-313, August.
    40. Orazio Attanasio & Britta Augsburg & Ralph De Haas & Emla Fitzsimons & Heike Harmgart, 2015. "The Impacts of Microfinance: Evidence from Joint-Liability Lending in Mongolia," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(1), pages 90-122, January.
    41. Timothée Demont, 2010. "The Impact of Microfinance on the Informal Credit Market: an Adverse Selection Model," Working Papers 1005, University of Namur, Department of Economics.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Casaburi, Lorenzo & Reed, Tristan, 2017. "Competition in Agricultural Markets: An Experimental Approach," CEPR Discussion Papers 11985, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Pushkar Maitra & Sandip Mitra & Dilip Mookherjee & Alberto Motta & Sujata Visaria, 2014. "Helping Microfinance Fulfill its Promise: Raising Borrower Incomes through Agent-Intermediated Lending," HKUST IEMS Thought Leadership Brief Series 2015-03, HKUST Institute for Emerging Market Studies, revised Oct 2014.
    3. Sandip Mitra & Dilip Mookherjee & Maximo Torero & Sujata Visaria, 2018. "Asymmetric Information and Middleman Margins: An Experiment with Indian Potato Farmers," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 100(1), pages 1-13, March.
    4. repec:eee:deveco:v:134:y:2018:i:c:p:1-15 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Aggarwal, Shilpa & Francis, Eilin & Robinson, Jonathan, 2018. "Grain today, gain tomorrow: Evidence from a storage experiment with savings clubs in Kenya," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 134(C), pages 1-15.
    6. Singh, Nirvikar, 2018. "Financial Inclusion: Concepts, Issues and Policies for India," MPRA Paper 91047, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Ahlin, Christian & Gulesci, Selim & Madestam, Andreas & Stryjan, Miri, 2018. "Loan Contract Structure and Adverse Selection: Survey Evidence from Uganda," CEPR Discussion Papers 12742, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    8. Pushkar Maitra & Sandip Mitra & Dilip Mookherjee & Sujata Visaria, 2017. "The Equity Impacts of Targeted Smallholder Agricultural Credit," HKUST IEMS Working Paper Series 2017-41, HKUST Institute for Emerging Market Studies, revised Mar 2017.
    9. repec:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2018:i:12:p:4407-:d:185436 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Mookherjee, D. & Motta, A., 2016. "A theory of interactions between MFIs and informal lenders," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 191-200.
    11. Casaburi, Lorenzo & Macchiavello, Rocco, 2017. "Firm and Market Response to Saving Constraints: Evidence from the Kenyan Dairy Industry," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 322, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Agricultural finance; Agent-based lending; Group lending; Selection; Repayment;

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • O16 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:127:y:2017:i:c:p:306-337. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/devec .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.