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A Personal Touch: Text Messaging for Loan Repayment

Author

Listed:
  • Melanie Morten

    (Economics Department, Yale University)

  • Dean Karlan

    (Economic Growth Center, Yale University)

  • Jonathan Zinman

    (Dartmouth College)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Melanie Morten & Dean Karlan & Jonathan Zinman, 2012. "A Personal Touch: Text Messaging for Loan Repayment," Working Papers 1011, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  • Handle: RePEc:egc:wpaper:1011
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Charness, Gary & Dufwenberg, Martin, 2003. "Promises & Partnership," Research Papers in Economics 2003:3, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gharad Bryan & Dean Karlan & Jonathan Zinman, 2015. "Referrals: Peer Screening and Enforcement in a Consumer Credit Field Experiment," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(3), pages 174-204, August.
    2. Gupta, Apoorv & Ponticelli, Jacopo & Tesei, Andrea, 2019. "Technology Adoption and Access to Credit via Mobile Phones," CEPR Discussion Papers 13956, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Tasoff, Joshua & Letzler, Robert, 2014. "Everyone believes in redemption: Nudges and overoptimism in costly task completion," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 107(PA), pages 107-122.
    4. Sule, Alan & Cemalcilar, Mehmet & Karlan, Dean S. & Zinman, Jonathan, 2015. "Unshrouding Effects on Demand for a Costly Add-on: Evidence from Bank Overdrafts in Turkey," Center Discussion Papers 198558, Yale University, Economic Growth Center.
    5. Sanders, Michael, 2017. "Social influences on charitable giving in the workplace," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 129-136.
    6. Monica Mogollon & Daniel Ortega & Carlos Scartascini, 2021. "Who’s calling? The effect of phone calls and personal interaction on tax compliance," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 28(6), pages 1302-1328, December.
    7. Andrew Dustan & Stanislao Maldonado & Juan Manuel Hernandez-Agramonte, 2018. "Motivating bureaucrats with non-monetary incentives when state capacity is weak: Evidence from large-scale field experiments in Peru," Working Papers 136, Peruvian Economic Association.
    8. Dean Karlan & Margaret McConnell & Sendhil Mullainathan & Jonathan Zinman, 2016. "Getting to the Top of Mind: How Reminders Increase Saving," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 62(12), pages 3393-3411, December.
    9. Catherine Larochelle & Jeffrey Alwang & Elli Travis & Victor Hugo Barrera & Juan Manuel Dominguez Andrade, 2019. "Did You Really Get the Message? Using Text Reminders to Stimulate Adoption of Agricultural Technologies," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 55(4), pages 548-564, April.
    10. Andrew Dustan & Juan Manuel Hernandez-Agramonte & Stanislao Maldonado, 2018. "Motivating bureaucrats with non-monetary incentives when state capacity is weak: Evidence from large-scale," Natural Field Experiments 00664, The Field Experiments Website.
    11. Altmann, Steffen & Traxler, Christian, 2014. "Nudges at the dentist," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 19-38.
    12. Bogdan Genchev & Julie Holland Mortimer, 2016. "Empirical Evidence on Conditional Pricing Practices," NBER Working Papers 22313, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Pinar Yildirim & Andrei Simonov & Maria Petrova & Ricardo Perez-Truglia, 2020. "Are Political and Charitable Giving Substitutes? Evidence from the United States," NBER Working Papers 26616, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Cátia Batista & Marcel Fafchamps & Pedro C. Vicente, 2018. "Keep It Simple: A Field Experiment on Information Sharing in Social Networks," NBER Working Papers 24908, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Szabó, Andrea & Ujhelyi, Gergely, 2015. "Reducing nonpayment for public utilities: Experimental evidence from South Africa," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 20-31.
    16. Hong Luo & Julie Holland Mortimer, 2016. "Copyright Enforcement: Evidence from Two Field Experiments," NBER Working Papers 22082, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Rekha Reddy & Miriam Bruhn & Congyan Tan, 2013. "Financial Capability in Mexico : Results from a National Survey on Financial Behaviors, Attitudes, and Knowledge [Capacidades financieras en México : resultados de la encuesta nacional sobre compor," World Bank Publications - Reports 16756, The World Bank Group.
    18. Nora Grote & Tim Klausmann & Mario Scharfbillig, 2019. "Investment in Identity in the Field - Nudging Refugees' Integration Effort," Working Papers 1905, Gutenberg School of Management and Economics, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, revised 24 Sep 2021.
    19. Emma Boswell Dean & Frank Schilbach & Heather Schofield, 2017. "Poverty and Cognitive Function," NBER Chapters, in: The Economics of Poverty Traps, pages 57-118, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    microcredit; microfinance; randomized evaluation; development finance;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
    • D92 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Intertemporal Firm Choice, Investment, Capacity, and Financing
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • O16 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements

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