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Vulnerability of Microfinance to Strategic Default and Covariate Shocks:Evidence from Pakistan

  • Kurosaki, Takashi
  • Khan, Hidayat Ullah
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    This paper investigates the repayment behavior of microfinance borrowers in Pakistan using a unique dataset of about 45,000 installments/repayments covering 2,945 microfinance borrower households over the period 1998-2007. In early 2005, the microfinance institution for these borrowers adopted a new system with strict enforcement of punishment against repayment delays/defaults. This reform led to a healthy situation with almost zero default rates, overcoming the previous problem of frequent defaults. We hypothesize that strategic default under the joint liability mechanism-if one group member is hit by a negative shock and faces difficulty in repayment, the other members who are able to repay may decide to default as well, instead of helping the unlucky member-was encouraged by weak enforcement of dynamic incentives and responsible for the pre-reform failure. As evidence for this interpretation, we show that a borrower’s delay in installment repayment was correlated with other group members’ repayment delays, beyond the level explained by possible correlation of project failures due to locally covariate shocks during the pre-reform period. The post-reform period is divided into two sub-periods by an earthquake in October 2005. Analysis of repayment behavior in the post-reform period yields the results that suggest that (1) the relative success under the new system was because of the suppression of strategic behavior among group members, thereby allowing joint liability schemes to function as individual lending schemes de facto and (2) the earthquake only marginally affected the new system in terms of repayment delays.

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    File URL: http://hermes-ir.lib.hit-u.ac.jp/rs/bitstream/10086/19001/1/No10-dp_10_010.pdf
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    Paper provided by Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University in its series PRIMCED Discussion Paper Series with number 10.

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    Length: 49 p.
    Date of creation: Mar 2011
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:hit:primdp:10
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    1. Ghatak, Maitreesh, 1999. "Group lending, local information and peer selection," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 27-50, October.
    2. R Blundell & Steven Bond, . "Initial conditions and moment restrictions in dynamic panel data model," Economics Papers W14&104., Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
    3. 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.
    4. Paxton, Julia & Graham, Douglas & Thraen, Cameron, 2000. "Modeling Group Loan Repayment Behavior: New Insights from Burkina Faso," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 48(3), pages 639-55, April.
    5. 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.
    6. Prabal Roy Chowdhury, 2006. "Group-lending with sequential financing, contingent renewal and social capital," Indian Statistical Institute, Planning Unit, New Delhi Discussion Papers 06-01, Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi, India.
    7. Prabal Roy Chowdhury, 2003. "Group-lending: Sequential financing, lender monitoring and joint liability," Indian Statistical Institute, Planning Unit, New Delhi Discussion Papers 04-10, Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi, India.
    8. Montgomery, Heather, 2005. "Meeting the double bottom line: the impact of Khushhali bank's microfinance program in Pakistan," MPRA Paper 32595, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. 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).
    10. Bhole, Bharat & Ogden, Sean, 2010. "Group lending and individual lending with strategic default," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(2), pages 348-363, March.
    11. Rafael Gomez & Eric Santor, 2003. "Do Peer Group Members Outperform Individual Borrowers? A Test of Peer Group Lending Using Canadian Micro-Credit Data," Working Papers 03-33, Bank of Canada.
    12. Karlan, Dean & Gine, Xavier, 2009. "Group versus Individual Liability: Long Term Evidence from Philippine Microcredit Lending Groups," Working Papers 61, Yale University, Department of Economics.
    13. Masahiro Shoji, 2010. "Does Contingent Repayment in Microfinance Help the Poor During Natural Disasters?," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(2), pages 191-210.
    14. World Bank, 2002. "Poverty Assessment : Poverty in Pakistan - Vulnerabilities, Social Caps, and Rural Dynamics," World Bank Other Operational Studies 15335, The World Bank.
    15. Sharma, Manohar & Zeller, Manfred, 1997. "Repayment performance in group-based credit programs in Bangladesh: An empirical analysis," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 25(10), pages 1731-1742, October.
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