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Good intentions pave the way to … the local moneylender


  • Arnold, Lutz G.
  • Booker, Benedikt


Access to microfinance entails a risk of over-indebtedness. A naïve present-biased micro-borrower may roll over debt after failure of an investment project financed with an MFI loan, even though she planned not to do so and would not have taken the MFI loan if she had been aware of the time inconsistency of her plan. Similarly, she may use a new loan to repay and end up over-indebted if she discounts the future too strongly relative to her true preferences.

Suggested Citation

  • Arnold, Lutz G. & Booker, Benedikt, 2013. "Good intentions pave the way to … the local moneylender," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 118(3), pages 466-469.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolet:v:118:y:2013:i:3:p:466-469 DOI: 10.1016/j.econlet.2012.12.027

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Esther Duflo & Michael Kremer & Jonathan Robinson, 2011. "Nudging Farmers to Use Fertilizer: Theory and Experimental Evidence from Kenya," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(6), pages 2350-2390, October.
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    3. Michal Bauer & Julie Chytilova & Jonathan Morduch, 2012. "Behavioral Foundations of Microcredit: Experimental and Survey Evidence from Rural India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(2), pages 1118-1139, April.
    4. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Esther Duflo, 2007. "The Economic Lives of the Poor," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(1), pages 141-168, Winter.
    5. Nava Ashraf & Dean Karlan & Wesley Yin, 2006. "Tying Odysseus to the Mast: Evidence From a Commitment Savings Product in the Philippines," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(2), pages 635-672.
    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. Zeller, Manfred & Sharma, Manohar & Ahmed, Akhter U. & Rashid, Shahidur, 2001. "Group-based financial institutions for the rural poor in Bangladesh: an institutional- and household-level analysis," Research reports 120, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    8. Robert M. Townsend, 2003. "Microcredit And Mechanism Design," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(2-3), pages 468-477, 04/05.
    9. Ted O'Donoghue & Matthew Rabin, 2003. "Studying Optimal Paternalism, Illustrated by a Model of Sin Taxes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 186-191, May.
    10. David Laibson, 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 443-478.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:wdevel:v:98:y:2017:i:c:p:338-350 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Marc Labie & Carolina Laureti & Ariane Szafarz, 2016. "Discipline and Flexibility: A Behavioral Perspective on Product Design in Microfinance," Working Papers CEB 15-020, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.

    More about this item


    Microfinance; Over-indebtedness; Hyperbolic discounting;

    JEL classification:

    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making


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