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Financing from Family and Friends

Author

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  • Lee, Samuel

    () (Stern School of Business)

  • Persson, Petra

    () (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN))

Abstract

The constraint on informal finance is commonly taken to be high costs and limited supply. But the majority of informal investors – family and friends – is often willing to supply funds at negative returns, and yet many borrowers tap family and friends only as a last resort. We explain this paradox with a theory based on altruistic ties between the entrepreneur and his family and friends, and propose an alternative explanation of the limits of informal finance: Altruistic ties reduce agency problems in financing. But such ties also increase the entrepreneur’s aversion to failure. This makes financing from family and friends unattractive, and undermines the entrepreneur’s willingness to take risks. Altruistic ties thus constrain growth even though they relax financing constraints. We relate this insight to the limited success of group-based microfinance in generating entrepreneurial growth. Our theory underscores the value of impersonal transactions, and implies that even counterparties with social ties benefit from formal contracts and third-party intermediation. This sheds light on social-formal financial institutions, such as community funds, crowd funding, and social lending intermediaries.

Suggested Citation

  • Lee, Samuel & Persson, Petra, 2012. "Financing from Family and Friends," Working Paper Series 933, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:iuiwop:0933
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Maria Semenova & Victoria Rodina, 2013. "Informal loans in Russia: credit rationing or borrower’s choice?," HSE Working papers WP BRP 14/FE/2013, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
    2. Ajay Agrawal & Christian Catalini & Avi Goldfarb, 2014. "Some Simple Economics of Crowdfunding," Innovation Policy and the Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(1), pages 63-97.
    3. repec:spr:jbecon:v:87:y:2017:i:5:d:10.1007_s11573-017-0852-x is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Laura Bartiloro & Cristiana Rampazzi, 2015. "Financial support from the family network during the crisis," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 291, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    5. Carpenter, Jeffrey, 2017. "The sequencing of gift exchange: A field trial," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 139(C), pages 26-31.
    6. repec:eee:eecrev:v:102:y:2018:i:c:p:100-128 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Benjamin L. Collier & Andrew F. Haughwout & Howard C. Kunreuther & Erwann O. Michel-Kerjan & Michael A. Stewart, 2016. "Firms’ Management of Infrequent Shocks," NBER Working Papers 22612, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. repec:eee:regeco:v:67:y:2017:i:c:p:108-118 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Maria Semenova & Victoria Kulikova, 2016. "Informal Loans in Russia: Why Not to Borrow from a Bank?," Review of Pacific Basin Financial Markets and Policies (RPBFMP), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 19(03), pages 1-41, September.
    10. Adair Morse, 2015. "Peer-to-Peer Crowdfunding: Information and the Potential for Disruption in Consumer Lending," NBER Working Papers 20899, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Informal finance; Family loans; Social ties; Altruism; Peer-to-peer lending; Small business;

    JEL classification:

    • D19 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Other
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • 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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