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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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  2. Xavier Gin� & Pamela Jakiela & Dean Karlan & Jonathan Morduch, 2010. "Microfinance Games," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 60-95, July.
  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. Carpenter, Jeffrey P. & Daniere, Amrita G. & Takahashi, Lois M., 2004. "Cooperation, trust, and social capital in Southeast Asian urban slums," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 533-551, December.
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  8. 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).
  9. 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.
  10. 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).
  11. 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.
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  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. 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.
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  17. List, John A. & Rasul, Imran, 2011. "Field Experiments in Labor Economics," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier.
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  19. Dean S. Karlan, 2005. "Using Experimental Economics to Measure Social Capital And Predict Financial Decisions," Working Papers 909, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
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