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Financing Smallholder Agriculture: An Experiment with Agent-Intermediated Microloans in India

Author

Listed:
  • Pushkar Maitra

    () (Department of Economics, Monash University)

  • Sandip Mitra

    () (Sampling and Ocial Statistics Unit, Indian Statistical Institute)

  • Dilip Mookherjee

    () (Department of Economics, Boston University)

  • Alberto Motta

    () (School of Economics, University of New South Wales)

  • Sujata Visaria

    () (Department of Economics, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
    Institute for Emerging Market Studies, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology)

Abstract

Recent evaluations of traditional microloans have not found significant impacts on borrower production or incomes. We examine whether this can be remedied by delegating selection of borrowers for individual liability loans to local trader-lender agents incentivized by repayment-based commissions. In a field experiment in West Bengal this design (called TRAIL) was offered in randomly selected villages. In remaining villages five-member groups self-formed and applied for joint liability loans (called GBL) with otherwise similar terms. TRAIL loans increased production of potato (a leading cash crop) and farm incomes by 27-37%, whereas GBL loans had insignificant and highly dispersed effects. Both schemes achieved equally high repayment rates, while TRAIL loans had higher take-up rates and lower administrative costs. We argue the results can be partly explained by differences in selection patterns with respect to borrower risk and productivity characteristics.

Suggested Citation

  • Pushkar Maitra & Sandip Mitra & Dilip Mookherjee & Alberto Motta & Sujata Visaria, 2015. "Financing Smallholder Agriculture: An Experiment with Agent-Intermediated Microloans in India," HKUST IEMS Working Paper Series 2015-23, HKUST Institute for Emerging Market Studies, revised Apr 2015.
  • Handle: RePEc:hku:wpaper:201523
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Casaburi, Lorenzo & Reed, Tristan, 2017. "Competition in Agricultural Markets: An Experimental Approach," CEPR Discussion Papers 11985, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Pushkar Maitra & Sandip Mitra & Dilip Mookherjee & Alberto Motta & Sujata Visaria, 2014. "Helping Microfinance Fulfill its Promise: Raising Borrower Incomes through Agent-Intermediated Lending," HKUST IEMS Thought Leadership Brief Series 2015-03, HKUST Institute for Emerging Market Studies, revised Oct 2014.
    3. Sandip Mitra & Dilip Mookherjee & Maximo Torero & Sujata Visaria, 2018. "Asymmetric Information and Middleman Margins: An Experiment with Indian Potato Farmers," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 100(1), pages 1-13, March.
    4. Shilpa Aggarwal & Eilin Francis & Jonathan Robinson, 2018. "Grain Today, Gain Tomorrow: Evidence from a Storage Experiment with Savings Clubs in Kenya," NBER Working Papers 24391, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Pushkar Maitra & Sandip Mitra & Dilip Mookherjee & Sujata Visaria, 2017. "The Equity Impacts of Targeted Smallholder Agricultural Credit," HKUST IEMS Working Paper Series 2017-41, HKUST Institute for Emerging Market Studies, revised Mar 2017.
    6. Mookherjee, D. & Motta, A., 2016. "A theory of interactions between MFIs and informal lenders," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 191-200.
    7. Casaburi, Lorenzo & Macchiavello, Rocco, 2017. "Firm and Market Response to Saving Constraints: Evidence from the Kenyan Dairy Industry," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 322, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    agricultural finance; agent based lending; group lending; selection; repayment;

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • O16 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance

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