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Group lending or individual lending? Evidence from a randomised field experiment in Mongolia

  • Orazio Attanasio

    (Department of Economics at UCL, IFS, J-PAL)

  • Britta Augsburg

    (IFS)

  • Ralph De Haas

    ()

    (EBRD)

  • Emla Fitzsimons

    (IFS)

  • Heike Harmgart

    (EBRD)

Although microfinance institutions across the world are moving from group lending towards individual lending, this strategic shift is not substantiated by sufficient empirical evidence on the impact of both types of lending on borrowers. We present such evidence from a randomised field experiment in rural Mongolia. We find a positive impact of access to group loans on food consumption and entrepreneurship. Among households that were offered group loans the likelihood of owning an enterprise increases by 10 per cent more than in control villages. Enterprise profits increase over time as well, particularly for the less-educated. For individual lending on the other hand, we detect no significant increase in consumption or enterprise ownership. These results are in line with theories that stress the disciplining effect of group lending: joint liability may deter borrowers from using loans for non-investment purposes. Our results on informal transfers are consistent with this hypothesis. Borrowers in group-lending villages are less likely to make informal transfers to families and friends while borrowers in individual-lending villages are more likely to do so. We find no significant difference in repayment rates between the two lending programmes, neither of which entailed weekly repayment meetings.

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Paper provided by European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Office of the Chief Economist in its series Working Papers with number 136.

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Length: 47 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2011
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Working papers 136, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
Handle: RePEc:ebd:wpaper:136
Contact details of provider: Postal: One Exchange Square, London EC2A 2JN
Web page: http://www.ebrd.com/pages/research/publications/workingpapers.shtml

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  1. Cull, Robert & Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Morduch, Jonathan, 2008. "Microfinance meets the market," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4630, The World Bank.
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  4. Karlan, Dean & Gine, Xavier, 2009. "Group versus Individual Liability: Long Term Evidence from Philippine Microcredit Lending Groups," Working Papers 61, Yale University, Department of Economics.
  5. Gine, Xavier & Jakiela, Pamela & Karlan, Dean & Morduch, Jonathan, 2006. "Microfinance games," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3959, The World Bank.
  6. Augsburg, Britta & de Haas, Ralph & Harmgart, Heike & Meghir, Costas, 2014. "Microfinance at the margin: Experimental evidence from Bosnia and Herzegovina," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Economics of Change SP II 2014-304, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  7. de Mel, Suresh & McKenzie, David & Woodruff, Christopher, 2008. "Are Women More Credit Constrained? Experimental Evidence on Gender and Microenterprise Returns," IZA Discussion Papers 3743, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  12. Bhole, Bharat & Ogden, Sean, 2010. "Group lending and individual lending with strategic default," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(2), pages 348-363, March.
  13. Guinnane, T. & Banerjee, A. & Besley, T., 1993. "Thy Neighbor's Keeper: the Design of a Credit Cooperative with Theory and a Test," Papers 705, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
  14. Marcel Fafchamps & David McKenzie & Simon Quinn & Christopher Woodruff, 2011. "When is capital enough to get female microenterprises growing? Evidence from a randomized experiment in Ghana," CSAE Working Paper Series 2011-11, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  15. Erica Field & Rohini Pande, 2008. "Repayment Frequency and Default in Microfinance: Evidence From India," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(2-3), pages 501-509, 04-05.
  16. Fafchamps, Marcel & McKenzie, David & McKenzie, David & Quinn, Simon & Woodruff, Christopher, 2011. "When is capital enough to get female enterprises growing ? evidence from a randomized experiment in Ghana," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5706, The World Bank.
  17. Wydick, Bruce, 1999. "Can Social Cohesion Be Harnessed to Repair Market Failures? Evidence from Group Lending in Guatemala," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(457), pages 463-75, July.
  18. Ghatak, M. & Guinnane, T.W., 1998. "The Economics of Lending with Joint Liability: Theory and Practice," Papers 791, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
  19. Mark M. Pitt & Shahidur R. Khandker, 1998. "The Impact of Group-Based Credit Programs on Poor Households in Bangladesh: Does the Gender of Participants Matter?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(5), pages 958-996, October.
  20. Khandker, Shahidur R., 2003. "Microfinance and poverty - evidence using panel data from Bangladesh," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2945, The World Bank.
  21. Shubhashis Gangopadhyay & Maitreesh Ghatak & Robert Lensink, 2005. "Joint Liability Lending and the Peer Selection Effect," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(506), pages 1005-1015, October.
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