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Microfinance Games

Listed author(s):
  • Dean Karlan

    ()

    (Economic Growth Center, Yale University)

  • Xavier Gine

    ()

    (World Bank)

  • Jonathan Morduch

    ()

    (New York University)

  • Pamela Jakiela

    (University of California, Berkeley)

Microfinance has been heralded as an effective way to address imperfections in credit markets. From a theoretical perspective, however, the success of microfinance contracts has puzzling elements. In particular, the group-based mechanisms often employed are vulnerable to free-riding and collusion, although they can also reduce moral hazard and improve selection. We created an experimental economics laboratory in a large urban market in Lima, Peru and over seven months conducted eleven different games that allow us to unpack microfinance mechanisms in a systematic way. We find that risk-taking broadly conforms to predicted patterns, but that behavior is safer than optimal. The results help to explain why pioneering microfinance institutions have been moving away from group-based contracts.

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File URL: http://www.econ.yale.edu/growth_pdf/cdp936.pdf
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Paper provided by Economic Growth Center, Yale University in its series Working Papers with number 936.

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Length: 46 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2006
Handle: RePEc:egc:wpaper:936
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Web page: http://www.econ.yale.edu/

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  1. Alessandra Cassar & Lucas Crowley & Bruce Wydick, 2005. "The effect of social capital on group loan repayment: Evidence from artefactual field experiments," Artefactual Field Experiments 00036, The Field Experiments Website.
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  4. Beatriz Armendariz & Jonathan Morduch, 2007. "The Economics of Microfinance," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262512017, September.
  5. 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 463-475, July.
  6. Ghatak, Maitreesh, 1999. "Group lending, local information and peer selection," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 27-50, October.
  7. John A. List, 2003. "Neoclassical Theory Versus Prospect Theory: Evidence from the Marketplace," NBER Working Papers 9736, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gaechter, "undated". "Cooperation and Punishment in Public Goods Experiments," IEW - Working Papers 010, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  9. 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.
  10. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1995. "Group lending, repayment incentives and social collateral," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 1-18, February.
  11. Dean S. Karlan & Jonathan Zinman, 2005. "Observing Unobservables: Identifying Information Asymmetries with a Consumer Credit Field Experiment," Working Papers 911, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  12. de Meza, David & Webb, David, 1990. "Risk, Adverse Selection and Capital Market Failure," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(399), pages 206-214, March.
  13. Dean Karlan & Jonathan Zinman, 2004. "Observing unobservables: Identifying information asymmetries with a consumer credit field experiment," Natural Field Experiments 00283, The Field Experiments Website.
  14. Dean Karlan, 2004. "Using experimental economics to measure social capital and predict financial decisions," Artefactual Field Experiments 00074, The Field Experiments Website.
  15. DeanS. Karlan, 2007. "Social connections and group banking," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(517), pages 52-84, 02.
  16. Dean S. Karlan, 2005. "Using Experimental Economics to Measure Social Capital And Predict Financial Decisions," Working Papers 909, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  17. John List & David Reiley, 2008. "Field experiments," Artefactual Field Experiments 00091, The Field Experiments Website.
  18. Maitreesh Ghatak & Timothy W. Guinnane, 1998. "The Economics of Lending with Joint Liability: Theory and Practice," Discussion Papers 98-16, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  19. Rabin, Matthew, 1993. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1281-1302, December.
  20. Xavier Gine & Dean Karlan, 2006. "Group versus Individual Liability: A Field Experiment in the Philippines," Working Papers 940, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  21. Ghatak, Maitreesh, 2000. "Screening by the Company You Keep: Joint Liability Lending and the Peer Selection Effect," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(465), pages 601-631, July.
  22. repec:pri:rpdevs:gamespaper.pdf is not listed on IDEAS
  23. Laffont, Jean-Jacques & N'Guessan, Tchetche, 2000. "Group lending with adverse selection," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(4-6), pages 773-784, May.
  24. de Aghion, Beatriz Armendariz & Gollier, Christian, 2000. "Peer Group Formation in an Adverse Selection Model," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(465), pages 632-643, July.
  25. Ashok S. Rai & Tomas Sjöström, 2004. "Is Grameen Lending Efficient? Repayment Incentives and Insurance in Village Economies," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(1), pages 217-234.
  26. Karlan, Dean S. & Zinman, Jonathan, 2009. "Expanding Microenterprise Credit Access: Using Randomized Supply Decisions to Estimate the Impacts in Manila," CEPR Discussion Papers 7396, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  28. Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1990. "Peer Monitoring and Credit Markets," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 4(3), pages 351-366, September.
  29. Nidhiya Menon, 2004. "Consumption Smoothing in Micro Credit Programs," Development and Comp Systems 0403005, EconWPA.
  30. Stephen Knack & Philip Keefer, 1997. "Does Social Capital Have an Economic Payoff? A Cross-Country Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1251-1288.
  31. 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.
  32. 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.
  33. Dean S. Karlan, 2005. "Using Experimental Economics to Measure Social Capital and Predict Financial Decisions," Working Papers 182, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies..
  34. Steven D. Levitt & John A. List, 2007. "What Do Laboratory Experiments Measuring Social Preferences Reveal About the Real World?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 153-174, Spring.
  35. Fisman, Raymond & Khanna, Tarun, 1999. "Is trust a historical residue? Information flows and trust levels," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 79-92, January.
  36. Dean S. Karlan, 2005. "Social Connections and Group Banking," Working Papers 913, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  37. Karlan, Dean & Zinman, Jonathan, 2009. "Expanding Microenterprise Credit Access: Randomized Supply Decisions to Estimate the Impacts in Manila," Working Papers 68, Yale University, Department of Economics.
  38. Kennedy, Bruce P. & Kawachi, Ichiro & Prothrow-Stith, Deborah & Lochner, Kimberly & Gupta, Vanita, 1998. "Social capital, income inequality, and firearm violent crime," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 7-17, July.
  39. Jonathan Zinman & Dean Karlan, 2009. "Expanding Microenterprise Credit Access: Using Randomized Supply Decisions to Estimate the Impacts in Manila," Working Papers 976, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
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