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The sacrifices of microborrowers in Ghana – A customer-protection perspective on measuring over-indebtedness

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  • Jessica Schicks

Abstract

This paper measures the over-indebtedness of microborrowers in Ghana. It defines over-indebtedness from a customer-protection perspective, considering borrowers over-indebted if they continuously struggle with repayment and experience unacceptable sacrifices related to their debt. We find that 30% of borrowers in our urban African population of microborrowers are over-indebted. The paper provides a detailed analysis of the sacrifices borrowers experience. In a second step, it tests the risk-management indicators of debt problems as predictors of the customer-protection measurement of over-indebtedness. Over-indebtedness is strongly related to delinquency and to the debt-to-income ratio but not to total debt amounts or to multiple borrowing. We construct a model that correctly predicts 72.6% of cases. However, even the best indicators for over-indebtedness identify only a small portion of cases of over-indebtedness. To protect customers from unacceptable struggles, the industry needs to measure customer experiences directly. Sound risk management is not enough to protect customers against over-indebtedness.

Suggested Citation

  • Jessica Schicks, 2012. "The sacrifices of microborrowers in Ghana – A customer-protection perspective on measuring over-indebtedness," Working Papers CEB 12-008, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  • Handle: RePEc:sol:wpaper:2013/112507
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Over-indebtedness in Microfinance – Who Should Bear the Risk?
      by Jessica Schicks in CGAP Microfinance Blog on 2012-06-11 18:17:02

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    Cited by:

    1. Luminita Postelnicu & Niels Hermes & Roselia Servin Juarez, 2015. "Social Capital and the Repayment of Microfinance Group Lending. A Case Study of Pro Mujer Mexico," Working Papers CEB 15-023, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    2. Luminita Postelnicu & Niels Hermes & Ariane Szafarz, 2013. "Defining Social Collateral in Microfinance Group Lending," Working Papers CEB 13-050, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    3. Barry, Thierno Amadou & Tacneng, Ruth, 2014. "The Impact of Governance and Institutional Quality on MFI Outreach and Financial Performance in Sub-Saharan Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 1-20.
    4. Marc Labie & Carolina Laureti & Ariane Szafarz, 2013. "Flexible Products in Microfinance: Overcoming the Demand-Supply Mismatch," Working Papers CEB 13-044, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    5. Weber, Ron & Musshoff, Oliver, 2012. "Microfinance for agricultural firms - What can we learn from bank data?," 2012 Conference, August 18-24, 2012, Foz do Iguacu, Brazil 126708, International Association of Agricultural Economists.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Microfinance; Microcredit; Over-Indebtedness; Debt; Customer Protection; Sacrifices;

    JEL classification:

    • O16 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance
    • O50 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - General
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages

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