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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. 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.
  2. Alexander S. Kritikos & Denitsa Vigenina, 2005. "Key Factors of Joint-Liability Loan Contracts: An Empirical Analysis," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 213-238, 04.
  3. Hisaki Kono, 2006. "Is group lending a good enforcement scheme for achieving high repayment rates? Evidence from field experiments in vietnam," Artefactual Field Experiments 00075, The Field Experiments Website.
  4. Glenn W. Harrison & John A. List, 2004. "Field Experiments," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1009-1055, December.
  5. Cason, Timothy N. & Gangadharan, Lata & Maitra, Pushkar, 2012. "Moral hazard and peer monitoring in a laboratory microfinance experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 192-209.
  6. 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.
  7. David Masclet & Charles Noussair & Steven Tucker & Marie Claire Villeval, 2002. "Monetary and non Monetary Punishment in the Voluntary Contribution Mechanism," Post-Print halshs-00176878, HAL.
  8. 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.
  9. 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).
  10. Abbink, Klaus & Bernd Irlenbusch & Elke Renner, 2002. "Group Size and Social Ties in Microfinance Institutions," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2003 1, Royal Economic Society.
  11. Cardenas, Juan Camilo & Carpenter, Jeffrey P., 2010. "Risk Attitudes and Well-Being in Latin America," IZA Discussion Papers 5279, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Karlan, Dean S., 2007. "Social Connections and Group Banking," CEPR Discussion Papers 6194, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. Jeff Carpenter & Amrita Daniere & Lois Takahashi, 2004. "Cooperation, trust, and social capital in southeast asian urban slums," Artefactual Field Experiments 00035, The Field Experiments Website.
  16. John A. List & Imran Rasul, 2010. "Field Experiments in Labor Economics," NBER Working Papers 16062, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. 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).
  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. 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.
  20. 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 463-75, July.
  21. Dean S. Karlan, 2005. "Using Experimental Economics to Measure Social Capital And Predict Financial Decisions," Working Papers 909, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  22. 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).
  23. Alessandra Cassar & Luke Crowley & Bruce Wydick, 2007. "The effect of social capital on group loan repayment: evidence from field experiments," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(517), pages F85-F106, 02.
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