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Moral Hazard and Peer Monitoring in a Laboratory Microfinance Experiment


  • Timothy N. Cason
  • Lata Gangadharan
  • Pushkar Maitra


Most problems with formal sector credit lending to the poor in developing countries can be attributed to the lack of information and inadequate collateral. One common feature of successful credit mechanisms is group-lending, where the loan is advanced to an individual if he/she is a part of a group and members of the borrowing group can monitor each other. Since group members have better information about each other compared to lenders, peer monitoring is often less expensive than lender monitoring. Theoretically this leads to greater monitoring and greater rates of loan repayments. This paper reports the results from a laboratory experiment of group lending in the presence of moral hazard and (costly) peer monitoring. We compare peer monitoring treatments when credit is provided to members of the group sequentially and simultaneously, and individual lending with lender monitoring. The results depend on the relative cost of monitoring by the peer vis-à-vis the lender. In the more typical case where the cost of peer monitoring is lower than the cost of lender monitoring, our results suggest that peer monitoring results in higher loan frequencies, higher monitoring and higher repayment rates compared to lender monitoring. In the absence of monitoring cost differences, performance is mostly similar across group and individual lending schemes, although loan frequencies and monitoring rates are sometimes modestly greater with group lending. Within group lending, although the dynamic incentives provided by sequential leading generate the greatest equilibrium surplus, simultaneous group leading provides equivalent empirical performance.

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  • Timothy N. Cason & Lata Gangadharan & Pushkar Maitra, 2008. "Moral Hazard and Peer Monitoring in a Laboratory Microfinance Experiment," Purdue University Economics Working Papers 1208, Purdue University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:pur:prukra:1208

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    Cited by:

    1. Wei Zhang & Haifeng Li & Shigenori Ishida & Eric Park, 2010. "China’s Non-governmental Microcredit Practice: History and Challenges," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 31(3), pages 280-296, September.
    2. Simon Cornée & David Masclet, 2013. "Long-Term Relationships, Group lending and Peer Sanctioning in Microfinance: New Experimental Evidence," Working Papers CEB 13-026, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    3. repec:eee:jeborg:v:145:y:2018:i:c:p:495-510 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. ZOUARI, Zeineb & NABI, Mahmoud Sami, 2013. "Enhancing the Enforceability of Islamic Microfinance Contracts in OIC countries," MPRA Paper 49816, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Baland, Jean-Marie & Gangadharan, Lata & Maitra, Pushkar & Somanathan, Rohini, 2017. "Repayment and exclusion in a microfinance experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 137(C), pages 176-190.
    6. Devesh Roy & Abdul Munasib & Xing Chen, 2014. "Social trust and international trade: the interplay between social trust and formal finance," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 150(4), pages 693-714, November.
    7. Nargiza Maksudova, 2009. "Microfinance in Uzbekistan : market overview and impact assessment needs," Memoranda - Policy Papers 39, Institut für Ost- und Südosteuropaforschung (Institute for East and Southeast European Studies).
    8. Jean-Marie Baland & Lata Gangadharan & Pushkar Maitra & Rohini Somanathan, 2013. "Repayment And Exclusion In A Microfinance Experiment," Working papers 227, Centre for Development Economics, Delhi School of Economics.
    9. El-Komi, Mohamed & Croson, Rachel, 2013. "Experiments in Islamic microfinance," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 252-269.
    10. Hameem Raees Chowdhury, 2016. "Joint-Liability in Microcredit: Evidence from Bangladesh," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 44(1), pages 105-129, March.
    11. Czura, Kristina, 2015. "Pay, peek, punish? Repayment, information acquisition and punishment in a microcredit lab-in-the-field experiment," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 119-133.
    12. Jeffrey Carpenter & Tyler Williams, 2010. "Moral hazard, peer monitoring, and microcredit: field experimental evidence from Paraguay," Working Papers 10-6, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
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    More about this item


    Group Lending; Monitoring; Moral Hazard; Laboratory Experiment; Loans; Development;

    JEL classification:

    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • O2 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy

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