Geographical Distance and Moral Hazard in Microcredit: Evidence from Colombia
Recent years have seen an intense and critical debate about the impact of microcredit on entrepreneurial activities and poor households' welfare. This paper suggests that information asymmetries in the ex-post loan arrangement between the microfinance institution (MFI) and local borrowers could partially explain the limited impact of microcredit. The physical distance separating borrowers from the MFI could be considered a proxy of agency costs, making monitoring more costly and moral hazard easier. The estimation of the effect of distance on the borrower's self-assessed outcome of a microcredit project in Colombia confirms the presence of moral hazard in the microcredit market, with agency costs increasing with geographical distance.
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