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Learning and Microlending

  • Drugov, Mikhail
  • Macchiavello, Rocco

For many self-employed poor in the developing world, entrepreneurship involves experimenting with new technologies and learning about oneself. This paper explores the (positive and normative) implications of learning for the practice of lending to the poor. The optimal lending contract rationalizes several common aspects of microlending schemes, such as "mandatory saving requirements", "progressive lending" and "group funds". Joint liability contracts are, however, not necessarily optimal. Among the poorest borrowers the model predicts excessively high retention rates, the contemporaneous holding of borrowing and savings at unfavorable interest rates as well as the failure to undertake profitable and easily available investment opportunities, such as accepting larger loans to scale-up business. Further testable predictions can be used to interpret and guide the design of controlled field experiments to evaluate microlending schemes.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 7011.

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Date of creation: Oct 2008
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7011
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  1. Niels Hermes & Robert Lensink, . "The empirics of microfinance: what do we know?," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/14198, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  2. Banerjee, Abhijit & Duflo, Esther, 2006. "The Economic Lives of the Poor," CEPR Discussion Papers 5968, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Ghatak, M. & Guinnane, T.W., 1998. "The Economics of Lending with Joint Liability: Theory and Practice," Papers 791, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
  4. Bergemann, Dirk & Hege, Ulrich, 1998. "Venture capital financing, moral hazard, and learning," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 22(6-8), pages 703-735, August.
  5. Chan, Yuk-Shee & Siegel, Daniel R & Thakor, Anjan V, 1990. "Learning, Corporate Control and Performance Requirements in Venture Capital Contracts," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 31(2), pages 365-81, May.
  6. Asif Dowla & Dewan Alamgir, 2003. "From microcredit to microfinance: evolution of savings products by MFIs in Bangladesh," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(8), pages 969-988.
  7. Jean-Marie Baland & Catherine Guirkinger & Charlotte Mali, 2011. "Pretending to Be Poor: Borrowing to Escape Forced Solidarity in Cameroon," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 60(1), pages 1 - 16.
  8. Alexander Tedeschi, Gwendolyn, 2006. "Here today, gone tomorrow: Can dynamic incentives make microfinance more flexible?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 84-105, June.
  9. Jonathan Morduch, 1999. "The Microfinance Promise," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(4), pages 1569-1614, December.
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  12. Beatriz Armendáriz de Aghion & Jonathan Morduch, 2000. "Microfinance Beyond Group Lending," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 8(2), pages 401-420, July.
  13. 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.
  14. Martin Valdivia & Dean Karlan, 2006. "Teaching Entrepreneurship: Impact of Business Training on Microfinance Clients and Institutions," Working Papers 941, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  15. Basu, Karna, 2009. "A behavioral model of simultaneous borrowing and saving," MPRA Paper 20442, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  16. Ghatak, Maitreesh, 1999. "Group lending, local information and peer selection," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 27-50, October.
  17. de Mel, Suresh & McKenzie, David & Woodruff, Christopher, 2008. "Who are the microenterprise owners ? Evidence from Sri Lanka on Tokman v. de Soto," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4635, The World Bank.
  18. Suresh de Mel & David McKenzie & Christopher Woodruff, 2010. "Who are the Microenterprise Owners? Evidence from Sri Lanka on Tokman versus De Soto," NBER Chapters, in: International Differences in Entrepreneurship, pages 63-87 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Suman Ghosh & Eric Van Tassel, 2007. "Microfinance, Subsidies and Dynamic Incentives," Working Papers 07001, Department of Economics, College of Business, Florida Atlantic University.
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