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Discrimination in Microfinance: The Role of Credit Officers

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  • Marc Labie
  • Pierre-Guillaume Méon
  • Ariane Szafarz

Abstract

This paper studies how high-powered incentives may affect credit officers’ discriminatory practices in microfinance institutions. Using an agency model applied to a non-profit MFI, we argue that incentive contracts may help align the officer’s behavior with the MFI’s mission. However, since incentives are costly, and the MFI’s budget is limited, even a benevolent institution faces a trade-off between fighting discrimination and raising outreach. Welfare maximization may not imply full eradication of discriminatory practices. A non discriminating welfare-maximizing MFI may thus prefer paying smaller incentives, and letting its credit officer discriminate to some extent.

Suggested Citation

  • Marc Labie & Pierre-Guillaume Méon & Ariane Szafarz, 2009. "Discrimination in Microfinance: The Role of Credit Officers," Working Papers CEB 09-017.RS, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  • Handle: RePEc:sol:wpaper:09-017
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Microfinance; Discrimination; Credit Officers; Incentives.;

    JEL classification:

    • O16 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods
    • L31 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Nonprofit Institutions; NGOs; Social Entrepreneurship

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