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Group versus Individual Liability: A Field Experiment in the Philippines

Author

Listed:
  • Xavier Gine

    () (World Bank)

  • Dean Karlan

    () (Economic Growth Center, Yale University)

Abstract

Group liability is often portrayed as the key innovation that led to the explosion of the microcredit movement, which started with the Grameen Bank in the 1970s and continues on today with hundreds of institutions around the world. Group lending claims to improve repayment rates and lower transaction costs when lending to the poor by providing incentives for peers to screen, monitor and enforce each other’s loans. However, some argue that group liability creates excessive pressure and discourages good clients from borrowing, jeopardizing both growth and sustainability. Therefore, it remains unclear whether group liability improves the lender’s overall profitability and the poor’s access to financial markets. We worked with a bank in the Philippines to conduct a field experiment to examine these issues. We randomly assigned half of the 169 pre-existing group liability “centers” of approximately twenty women to individual-liability centers (treatment) and kept the other half as-is with group liability (control). We find that the conversion to individual liability does not affect the repayment rate, and leads to higher growth in center size by attracting new clients.

Suggested Citation

  • Xavier Gine & Dean Karlan, 2006. "Group versus Individual Liability: A Field Experiment in the Philippines," Working Papers 940, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  • Handle: RePEc:egc:wpaper:940
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    File URL: http://www.econ.yale.edu/growth_pdf/cdp940.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
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    4. Laffont, Jean-Jacques, 2003. "Collusion and group lending with adverse selection," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 329-348, April.
    5. 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.
    6. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1995. "Group lending, repayment incentives and social collateral," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 1-18, February.
    7. Xavier Giné & Pamela Jakiela & Dean Karlan & Jonathan Morduch, 2010. "Microfinance Games," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 60-95, July.
    8. Dean S. Karlan, 2005. "Using Experimental Economics to Measure Social Capital and Predict Financial Decisions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(5), pages 1688-1699, December.
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    13. Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1990. "Peer Monitoring and Credit Markets," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 4(3), pages 351-366, September.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Microfinance; group liability; joint liability; social capital; micro-enterprises; informal economies;

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • 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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