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A Personal Touch: Text Messaging for Loan Repayment

  • Karlan, Dean

    (Yale University)

  • Morten, Melanie

    (Yale University)

  • Zinman, Jonathan

    (Dartmouth College)

We worked with two microlenders to test impacts of randomly assigned reminders for loan repayments in the "text messaging capital of the world". We do not find strong evidence that loss versus gain framing or messaging timing matter. Messages only robustly improve repayment when they include the loan officer's name. This effect holds for clients serviced by the loan officer previously but not for first-time borrowers. Taken together, the results highlight the potential and limits of communications technology for mitigating moral hazard, and suggest that personal obligation/reciprocity between borrowers and bank employees can be harnessed to help overcome market failures.

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Paper provided by Yale University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 102.

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Date of creation: Feb 2012
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Handle: RePEc:ecl:yaleco:102
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Web page: http://www.econ.yale.edu/ddp/
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  1. Dean Karlan & Jonathan Zinman, 2004. "Observing unobservables: Identifying information asymmetries with a consumer credit field experiment," Natural Field Experiments 00283, The Field Experiments Website.
  2. William Jack & Tavneet Suri, 2011. "Mobile Money: The Economics of M-PESA," NBER Working Papers 16721, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Dean Karlan & Sendhil Mullainathan & Margaret McConnell & Jonathan Zinman, 2010. "Getting to theTop of Mind: How Reminders Increase Saving," Working Papers id:2587, eSocialSciences.
  4. Felipe Kast & Stephan Meier & Dina Pomeranz, 2012. "Under-Savers Anonymous: Evidence on Self-Help Groups and Peer Pressure as a Savings Commitment Device," NBER Working Papers 18417, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Boot, Arnoud W. A., 2000. "Relationship Banking: What Do We Know?," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 7-25, January.
  6. Ximena Cadena & Antoinette Schoar, 2011. "Remembering to Pay? Reminders vs. Financial Incentives for Loan Payments," NBER Working Papers 17020, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. William Adams & Liran Einav & Jonathan Levin, 2009. "Liquidity Constraints and Imperfect Information in Subprime Lending," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 49-84, March.
  8. Jenny Aker and Isaac M. Mbiti, 2010. "Mobile Phones and Economic Development in Africa," Working Papers 211, Center for Global Development.
  9. Sumit Agarwal & Brent W. Ambrose & Souphala Chomsisengphet & Chunlin Liu, 2011. "The Role of Soft Information in a Dynamic Contract Setting: Evidence from the Home Equity Credit Market," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 43(4), pages 633-655, 06.
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