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Enforcement in informal saving groups

  • Anderson, Siwan
  • Baland, Jean-Marie
  • Moene, Karl Ove

Informal groups cannot rely on external enforcement to insure that members abide by their obligations. It is generally assumed that these problems are solved by 'social sanctions' and reputational effects. The present paper focuses on roscas, one of the most commonly found informal financial institutions in the developing world. We first show that, in the absence of an external (social) sanctioning mechanism, roscas are never sustainable, even if the defecting member is excluded from all future roscas. We then argue that the organizational structure of the rosca itself can be designed so as to address enforcement issues. The implications of our analysis are consistent with first-hand evidence from rosca groups in a Kenyan slum.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Development Economics.

Volume (Year): 90 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (September)
Pages: 14-23

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Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:90:y:2009:i:1:p:14-23
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  1. Besley, T. & Coate, S. & Loury, G., 1990. "The Economics Of Rotating Savings And Credit Associations," Papers 149, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Development Studies.
  2. Levenson, Alec R. & Besley, Timothy, 1996. "The anatomy of an informal financial market: Rosca participation in Taiwan," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 45-68, October.
  3. Kovsted, Jens & Lyk-Jensen, Peter, 1999. "Rotating savings and credit associations: the choice between random and bidding allocation of funds," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 143-172, October.
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  5. van den Brink, Rogier & Chavas, Jean-Paul, 1997. "The Microeconomics of an Indigenous African Institution: The Rotating Savings and Credit Association," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 45(4), pages 745-72, July.
  6. Banerjee, Abhijit V & Besley, Timothy & Guinnane, Timothy W, 1994. "Thy Neighbor's Keeper: The Design of a Credit Cooperative with Theory and a Test," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(2), pages 491-515, May.
  7. Jeremy I. Bulow & Kenneth Rogoff, 1988. "Sovereign Debt: Is To Forgive To Forget?," NBER Working Papers 2623, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Besley, Timothy, 1995. "Savings, credit and insurance," Handbook of Development Economics, in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 36, pages 2123-2207 Elsevier.
  9. Handa, Sudhanshu & Kirton, Claremont, 1999. "The economics of rotating savings and credit associations: evidence from the Jamaican 'Partner'," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 173-194, October.
  10. 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.
  11. Ray, Debraj & Ueda, Kaoru, 1996. "Egalitarianism and Incentives," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 324-348, November.
  12. Hammond, Peter J, 1981. "Ex-ante and Ex-post Welfare Optimality under Uncertainty," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 48(191), pages 235-50, August.
  13. Siwan Anderson, 2000. "The Economics of Roscas and Intra-Household Resource Allocation," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1323, Econometric Society.
  14. Stefan Klonner, 2000. "Rotating Savings and Credit Associations as Insurance," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1589, Econometric Society.
  15. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen & Loury, Glenn, 1994. "Rotating Savings and Credit Associations, Credit Markets and Efficiency," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(4), pages 701-19, October.
  16. Bouman, F. J. A., 1995. "Rotating and accumulating savings and credit associations: A development perspective," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 371-384, March.
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