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Determinants of Moral Hazard in Microfinance: Empirical Evidence from Joint Liability Lending Programs in Malawi

  • Simtowe, Franklin
  • Zeller, Manfred

Moral hazard is widely reported as a problem in credit and insurance markets, mainly arising from information asymmetry. Although theorists have attempted to explain how group lending with joint liability can be an important tool for mitigating moral hazard among the poor, empirical studies are rare and sometimes give mixed results. In Malawi, for example, although, group lending with joint liability has been practiced for nearly four decades, the unwillingness to repay loans remains the single major cause of default. This paper examines the extent of occurrence of moral hazard and investigates its determinants of occurrence among joint liability lending programs from Malawi, using group level data from 99 farm and non-farm credit groups. Results reveal that peer selection, peer monitoring, peer pressure, dynamic incentives and variables capturing the extent of matching problems explain most of the variation in the incidence of moral hazard among credit groups. The implications are that joint liability lending institutions will continue to rely on social cohesion and dynamic incentives as a means to enhancing their performance which has a direct implication on their outreach, impact and sustainability.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 461.

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Date of creation: 12 Oct 2006
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:461
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  1. Che Yeon-Koo, 2002. "Joint Liability and Peer Monitoring under Group Lending," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 2(1), pages 1-28, July.
  2. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1995. "Group lending, repayment incentives and social collateral," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 1-18, February.
  3. Ghatak, M. & Guinnane, T.W., 1998. "The Economics of Lending with Joint Liability: Theory and Practice," Papers 791, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
  4. Guinnane, T.W., 1992. "A Failed Institutional Transplant: Raiffeisen's Credit Cooperatives in Ireland, 1894-1914," Papers 165, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Development Studies.
  5. Ghatak, Maitreesh, 1999. "Group lending, local information and peer selection," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 27-50, October.
  6. Conning, Jonathan, 1999. "Outreach, sustainability and leverage in monitored and peer-monitored lending," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 51-77, October.
  7. 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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