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

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.1016/j.jdeveco.2017.03.001?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    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. 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.
    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. Maria Sagrario Floro & Debraj Ray, 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. 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.
    31. 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.
    32. repec:pri:rpdevs:morduch_microfinance_poor is not listed on IDEAS
    33. Jean-Jacques Laffont & David Martimort, 2000. "Mechanism Design with Collusion and Correlation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(2), pages 309-342, March.
    34. 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..
    35. 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.
    36. McIntosh, Craig & Wydick, Bruce, 2005. "Competition and microfinance," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(2), pages 271-298, December.
    37. 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.
    38. 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.
    39. 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.
    40. 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. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. Abhijit Banerjee & Emily Breza & Esther Duflo & Cynthia Kinnan, 2019. "Can Microfinance Unlock a Poverty Trap for Some Entrepreneurs?," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0832, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
    4. Lixia Liu & Xueli Zhan, 2019. "Analysis of Financing Efficiency of Chinese Agricultural Listed Companies Based on Machine Learning," Complexity, Hindawi, vol. 2019, pages 1-11, July.
    5. Evans Olaniyi, 2017. "Back to the Land: The Impact of Financial Inclusion on Agriculture in Nigeria," Iranian Economic Review (IER), Faculty of Economics,University of Tehran.Tehran,Iran, vol. 21(4), pages 885-903, Autumn.
    6. Romain Houssa & Paul Reding & Albena Sotirova, 2017. "Methodological issues of an impact evaluation of development support in agriculture," BeFinD Working Papers 0120, University of Namur, Department of Economics.
    7. Maitra, Pushkar & Mitra, Sandip & Mookherjee, Dilip & Visaria, Sujata, 2020. "Decentralized Targeting of Agricultural Credit Programs: Private versus Political Intermediaries," Discussion paper series HIAS-E-94, Hitotsubashi Institute for Advanced Study, Hitotsubashi University.
    8. Berg Claudia & Emran Shahe & Shilpi Forhad, 2020. "Microfinance and Moneylenders: Long-run Effects of MFIs on Informal Credit Market in Bangladesh," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 20(3), pages 1-35, July.
    9. Xiaohua Wang & Meilan Chen & Xi He & Fangfang Zhang, 2018. "Credit Constraint, Credit Adjustment, and Sustainable Growth of Farmers’ Income," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(12), pages 1-15, November.
    10. Casaburi, Lorenzo & Macchiavello, Rocco, 2015. "Firm and Market Response to Saving Constraints: Evidence from the Kenyan Dairy Industry," CEPR Discussion Papers 10952, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    11. Pushkar Maitra & Sandip Mitra & Dilip Mookherjee & Sujata Visaria, 2020. "Decentralized Targeting of Agricultural Credit Programs: Private versus Political Intermediaries," HKUST IEMS Working Paper Series 2020-70, HKUST Institute for Emerging Market Studies, revised Jan 2020.
    12. Ahlin, Christian & Gulesci, Selim & Madestam, Andreas & Stryjan, Miri, 2020. "Loan contract structure and adverse selection: Survey evidence from Uganda," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 172(C), pages 180-195.
    13. Casaburi, Lorenzo & Reed, Tristan, 2017. "Competition in Agricultural Markets: An Experimental Approach," CEPR Discussion Papers 11985, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    14. 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.
    15. Singh, Nirvikar, 2018. "Financial Inclusion: Concepts, Issues and Policies for India," Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt98p5m37s, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
    16. 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.
    17. 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.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Orazio Attanasio & Britta Augsburg & Ralph De Haas, 2019. "Microcredit Contracts, Risk Diversification and Loan Take-Up," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 17(6), pages 1797-1842.
    2. Sanjit Dhami & Junaid Arshad & Ali al-Nowaihi, 2019. "Psychological and Social Motivations in Microfinance Contracts: Theory and Evidence," CESifo Working Paper Series 7773, CESifo.
    3. de Quidt, Jonathan & Fetzer, Thiemo & Ghatak, Maitreesh, 2016. "Group lending without joint liability," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 217-236.
    4. Ahlin, Christian, 2015. "The role of group size in group lending," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 140-155.
    5. Thorsten Beck & Patrick Behr, 2017. "Individual versus Village Lending: Evidence from Montenegro," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 21(4), pages 67-87, November.
    6. Mahreen Mahmud, 2020. "Repaying Microcredit Loans: A Natural Experiment on Liability Structure," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 56(6), pages 1161-1176, June.
    7. Czura, Kristina, 2015. "Pay, peek, punish? Repayment, information acquisition and punishment in a microcredit lab-in-the-field experiment," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 119-133.
    8. Baulia, Susmita, 2019. "Take-up of joint and individual liability loans: An analysis with laboratory experiment," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 82(C).
    9. de Quidt, Jonathan & Fetzer, Thiemo & Ghatak, Maitreesh, 2018. "Commercialization and the decline of joint liability microcredit," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 134(C), pages 209-225.
    10. Czura, Kristina, 2015. "Do flexible repayment schedules improve the impact of microcredit?," Discussion Papers in Economics 26608, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    11. Madestam, Andreas, 2014. "Informal finance: A theory of moneylenders," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 157-174.
    12. Bahar Rezaei & Sriram Dasu & Reza Ahmadi, 2017. "Optimal Group Size in Joint Liability Contracts," Decision Analysis, INFORMS, vol. 14(3), pages 204-225, September.
    13. Chowdhury, Shyamal & Chowdhury, Prabal Roy & Sengupta, Kunal, 2014. "Sequential lending with dynamic joint liability in micro-finance," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 167-180.
    14. Susmita Baulia, 2017. "Take-up of joint and individual liability loans: an analysis with laboratory experiments," Discussion Papers 117, Aboa Centre for Economics.
    15. Altınok, Ahmet & Sever, Can, 2014. "Efficient Microlending without Joint Liability," MPRA Paper 56598, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    16. Hoffmann, Vivian & Rao, Vijayendra & Surendra, Vaishnavi & Datta, Upamanyu, 2021. "Relief from usury: Impact of a self-help group lending program in rural India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 148(C).
    17. Dorfleitner, Gregor & Oswald, Eva-Maria, 2016. "Repayment behavior in peer-to-peer microfinancing: Empirical evidence from Kiva," Review of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 45-59.
    18. Christian Ahlin, 2020. "Group lending, matching patterns, and the mystery of microcredit: Evidence from Thailand," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 11(2), pages 713-759, May.
    19. Aragón, Fernando M. & Karaivanov, Alexander & Krishnaswamy, Karuna, 2020. "Credit lines in microcredit: Short-term evidence from a randomized controlled trial in India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 146(C).
    20. 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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Agricultural finance; Agent-based lending; Group lending; Selection; Repayment;
    All these keywords.

    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: . 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 bibliographic 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.

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

    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.