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A Personal Touch: Text Messaging for Loan Repayment

Author

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  • Dean Karlan
  • Melanie Morten
  • Jonathan Zinman

Abstract

We worked with two microlenders to test impacts of randomly assigned reminders for loan repayments in the "text messaging capital of the world". We do not find strong evidence that loss versus gain framing or messaging timing matter. Messages only robustly improve repayment when they include the loan officer's name. This effect holds for clients serviced by the loan officer previously but not for first-time borrowers. Taken together, the results highlight the potential and limits of communications technology for mitigating moral hazard, and suggest that personal obligation/reciprocity between borrowers and bank employees can be harnessed to help overcome market failures.

Suggested Citation

  • Dean Karlan & Melanie Morten & Jonathan Zinman, 2012. "A Personal Touch: Text Messaging for Loan Repayment," NBER Working Papers 17952, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17952
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. William Adams & Liran Einav & Jonathan Levin, 2009. "Liquidity Constraints and Imperfect Information in Subprime Lending," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 49-84, March.
    2. Felipe Kast & Stephan Meier & Dina Pomeranz, 2012. "Under-Savers Anonymous: Evidence on Self-Help Groups and Peer Pressure as a Savings Commitment Device," NBER Working Papers 18417, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Jenny C. Aker & Isaac M. Mbiti, 2010. "Mobile Phones and Economic Development in Africa," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(3), pages 207-232, Summer.
    4. Dean Karlan & Jonathan Zinman, 2009. "Observing Unobservables: Identifying Information Asymmetries With a Consumer Credit Field Experiment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(6), pages 1993-2008, November.
    5. Sumit Agarwal & Brent W. Ambrose & Souphala Chomsisengphet & Chunlin Liu, 2011. "The Role of Soft Information in a Dynamic Contract Setting: Evidence from the Home Equity Credit Market," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 43(4), pages 633-655, June.
    6. Ximena Cadena & Antoinette Schoar, 2011. "Remembering to Pay? Reminders vs. Financial Incentives for Loan Payments," NBER Working Papers 17020, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. William Jack & Tavneet Suri, 2011. "Mobile Money: The Economics of M-PESA," NBER Working Papers 16721, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Boot, Arnoud W. A., 2000. "Relationship Banking: What Do We Know?," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 7-25, January.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Tasoff, Joshua & Letzler, Robert, 2014. "Everyone believes in redemption: Nudges and overoptimism in costly task completion," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 107(PA), pages 107-122.
    2. Gharad Bryan & Dean Karlan & Jonathan Zinman, 2015. "Referrals: Peer Screening and Enforcement in a Consumer Credit Field Experiment," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(3), pages 174-204, August.
    3. Bogdan Genchev & Julie Holland Mortimer, 2016. "Empirical Evidence on Conditional Pricing Practices," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 908, Boston College Department of Economics.
    4. Altmann, Steffen & Traxler, Christian, 2014. "Nudges at the dentist," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 19-38.
    5. Cátia Batista & Marcel Fafchamps & Pedro C. Vicente, 2018. "Keep It Simple: A Field Experiment on Information Sharing in Social Networks," NBER Working Papers 24908, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Hong Luo & Julie Holland Mortimer, 2016. "Copyright Enforcement: Evidence from Two Field Experiments," NBER Working Papers 22082, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Rekha Reddy & Miriam Bruhn & Congyan Tan, 2013. "Financial Capability in Mexico : Results from a National Survey on Financial Behaviors, Attitudes, and Knowledge
      [Capacidades financieras en México : resultados de la encuesta nacional sobre compor
      ," World Bank Other Operational Studies 16756, The World Bank.
    8. Sanders, Michael, 2017. "Social influences on charitable giving in the workplace," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 129-136.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
    • D92 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Intertemporal Firm Choice, Investment, Capacity, and Financing
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • 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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