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The Information Value of Online Social Networks: Lessons from Peer-to-Peer Lending

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  • Seth Freedman
  • Ginger Zhe Jin

Abstract

We examine whether social networks facilitate online markets using data from a leading peer-to-peer lending website. We find that borrowers with social ties are consistently more likely to have their loans funded and receive lower interest rates; however, most borrowers with social ties are more likely to pay late or default. We provide evidence that these findings are driven by lenders not fully understanding the relationship between social ties and unobserved borrower quality. Overall, our findings suggest caution for using online social networks as a signal of quality in anonymous transactions.

Suggested Citation

  • Seth Freedman & Ginger Zhe Jin, 2014. "The Information Value of Online Social Networks: Lessons from Peer-to-Peer Lending," NBER Working Papers 19820, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19820
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    Cited by:

    1. Eid, Nourhan & Maltby, Josephine & Talavera, Oleksandr, 2016. "Income Rounding and Loan Performance in the Peer-to-Peer Market," MPRA Paper 72852, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Michal Polena & Tobias Regner, 2016. "Determinants of borrowers' default in P2P lending under consideration of the loan risk class," Jena Economic Research Papers 2016-023, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    3. Carlotta MARIOTTO & Marianne VERDIER, 2015. "Innovation and Competition in Internet and Mobile Banking: an Industrial Organization Perspective," Communications & Strategies, IDATE, Com&Strat dept., vol. 1(99), pages 129-146, 3rd quart.
    4. repec:ksa:szemle:1754 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Karami, Moein & Cumming, Douglas & Hornuf, Lars & Schweizer, Denis, 2017. "Disentangling Crowdfunding from Fraudfunding," Annual Conference 2017 (Vienna): Alternative Structures for Money and Banking 168120, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    6. 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

    JEL classification:

    • D53 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - Financial Markets
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • L81 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Retail and Wholesale Trade; e-Commerce

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