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The Dynamics of Cooperation in Group Lending - A Microfinance Experiment

  • Peter Werner

We investigate the dynamics of borrower behavior in a microfinance experiment in which subjects are jointly responsible for credit repayment. Although cooperation levels are generally high, moral hazard problems persist among borrowers. Moreover, the path dependency of decisions mitigates the insurance effect of joint liability. We compare two conversion mechanisms from joint to individual liability. First, an active choice of the joint liability contract does not systematically increase cooperation. Second, conversion based on repayment success tends to have a detrimental impact on cooperation among the remaining joint liability borrowers.

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Paper provided by University of Cologne, Department of Economics in its series Working Paper Series in Economics with number 49.

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Date of creation: 11 Mar 2010
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Handle: RePEc:kls:series:0049
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  1. Grimm, Veronika & Mengel, Friederike, 2009. "Cooperation in viscous populations--Experimental evidence," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 202-220, May.
  2. Guinnane, T. & Banerjee, A. & Besley, T., 1993. "Thy Neighbor's Keeper: the Design of a Credit Cooperative with Theory and a Test," Papers 705, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
  3. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1995. "Group lending, repayment incentives and social collateral," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 1-18, February.
  4. Urs Fischbacher & Simon Gaechter & Ernst Fehr, . "Are People Conditionally Cooperative? Evidence from a Public Goods Experiment," IEW - Working Papers 016, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  5. Anna Gunnthorsdottir & Daniel Houser & Kevin McCabe & Holly Ameden, 2004. "Disposition, History and Contributions in Public Goods Experiments," Experimental 0401001, EconWPA.
  6. Dean Karlan & Jonathan Morduch & Pamela Jakiela & Xavier Gine, 2006. "Microfinance games," Framed Field Experiments 00150, The Field Experiments Website.
  7. 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.
  8. Greiner, Ben, 2004. "An Online Recruitment System for Economic Experiments," MPRA Paper 13513, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  9. Van Tassel, Eric, 1999. "Group lending under asymmetric information," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 3-25, October.
  10. Bohnet, Iris & Kubler, Dorothea, 2005. "Compensating the cooperators: is sorting in the prisoner's dilemma possible?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 61-76, January.
  11. Ghatak, Maitreesh, 1999. "Group lending, local information and peer selection," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 27-50, October.
  12. de Aghion, Beatriz Armendariz & Gollier, Christian, 2000. "Peer Group Formation in an Adverse Selection Model," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(465), pages 632-43, July.
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