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Moral hazard, peer monitoring, and microcredit: field experimental evidence from Paraguay

  • Jeffrey Carpenter
  • Tyler Williams

Given the substantial amount of resources currently invested in microcredit programs, it is more important than ever to accurately assess the extent to which peer monitoring by borrowers faced with group liability contracts actually reduces moral hazard. We conduct a field experiment with women about to enter a group loan program in Paraguay and then gather administrative data on the members' repayment behavior in the six-month period following the experiment. In addition to the experiment which is designed to measure individual propensities to monitor under incentives similar to group liability, we collect a variety of the other potential correlates of borrowing behavior and repayment. Controlling for other factors, we find a very strong causal relationship between the monitoring propensity of one's loan group and repayment. Our lowest estimate suggests that borrowers in groups with above median monitoring are 36 percent less likely to have a problem repaying their portion of the loan. Besides confirming a number of previous results, we also find some evidence that risk preferences, social preferences, and cognitive skills affect repayment.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Boston in its series Working Papers with number 10-6.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedbwp:10-6
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  1. Timothy N. Cason & Lata Gangadharan & Pushkar Maitra, 2008. "Moral Hazard and Peer Monitoring in a Laboratory Microfinance Experiment," Purdue University Economics Working Papers 1208, Purdue University, Department of Economics.
  2. David Reiley & John List, 2008. "Field experiments," Artefactual Field Experiments 00091, The Field Experiments Website.
  3. Jeffrey Carpenter & Erika Seki, 2005. "Do Social PreferencesIncrease Productivity? Field experimental evidence from fishermen in Toyoma Bay," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 0515, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
  4. Simtowe, Franklin & Zeller, Manfred, 2006. "Determinants of Moral Hazard in Microfinance: Empirical Evidence from Joint Liability Lending Programs in Malawi," MPRA Paper 461, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Jeffrey Carpenter & Amrita Daniere & Lois Takahashi, 2003. "Cooperation, Trust, and Social Capital in Southeast Asian Urban Slums," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 0309, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
  6. Kritikos, Alexander S. & Vigenina, Denitsa, 2005. "Key Factors of Joint-Liability Loan Contracts: An Empirical Analysis," Discussion Papers 231, European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder), Department of Business Administration and Economics.
  7. Armendariz de Aghion, Beatriz, 1999. "On the design of a credit agreement with peer monitoring," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 79-104, October.
  8. Kono, Hisaki, 2006. "Is Group Lending A Good Enforcement Scheme for Achieving High Repayment Rates?: Evidence from Field Experiments in Vietnam," IDE Discussion Papers 61, Institute of Developing Economies, Japan External Trade Organization(JETRO).
  9. Klaus Abbink & Bernd Irlenbusch, 2004. "Group Size and Social Ties in Microfinance Institutions," Econometric Society 2004 Far Eastern Meetings 404, Econometric Society.
  10. Christian Ahlin & Robert Townsend, 2002. "Using Repayment Data to Test Across Models of Joint Liability Lending," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0227, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  11. John A. List & Imran Rasul, 2010. "Field Experiments in Labor Economics," NBER Working Papers 16062, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. David Masclet & Charles Noussair & Steven Tucker & Marie-Claire Villeval, 2003. "Monetary and non Monetary Punishment in the Voluntary Contributions Mechanism," Post-Print halshs-00175251, HAL.
  13. Hermes, Niels & Lensink, Robert & Teki, Habteab Mehrteab, 2003. "Peer monitoring, social ties and moral hazard in group lending programmes: evidence from Eritrea," Research Report 03E36, University of Groningen, Research Institute SOM (Systems, Organisations and Management).
  14. Gine, Xavier & Jakiela, Pamela & Karlan, Dean & Morduch, Jonathan, 2006. "Microfinance games," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3959, The World Bank.
  15. Karlan, Dean S., 2007. "Social Connections and Group Banking," CEPR Discussion Papers 6194, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  16. Forsythe Robert & Horowitz Joel L. & Savin N. E. & Sefton Martin, 1994. "Fairness in Simple Bargaining Experiments," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 347-369, May.
  17. Dean Karlan & Xavier Gine & Jonathan Morduch & Pamela Jakiela, 2006. "Microfinance Games," Working Papers 936, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  18. Gustavo A. Barboza & Humberto Barreto, 2006. "Learning By Association: Micro Credit In Chiapas, Mexico," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 24(2), pages 316-331, 04.
  19. Juan Camilo Cárdenas & Jeffrey Carpenter, 2010. "Risk Attitudes and Well-being in Latin America," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 007718, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
  20. Burks, Stephen V. & Carpenter, Jeffrey P. & Götte, Lorenz & Rustichini, Aldo, 2008. "Cognitive Skills Explain Economic Preferences, Strategic Behavior, and Job Attachment," IZA Discussion Papers 3609, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  21. Ashok S. Rai & Tomas Sj–str–m, 2004. "Is Grameen Lending Efficient? Repayment Incentives and Insurance in Village Economies," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 71(1), pages 217-234, 01.
  22. Dean S. Karlan, 2005. "Using Experimental Economics to Measure Social Capital And Predict Financial Decisions," Working Papers 909, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  23. Carpenter, Jeffrey P. & Burks, Stephen V. & Verhoogen, Eric, 2004. "Comparing Students to Workers: The Effects of Social Framing on Behavior in Distribution Games," IZA Discussion Papers 1341, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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