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Discipline and Flexibility: A Behavioral Perspective on Product Design in Microfinance

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  • Marc Labie
  • Carolina Laureti
  • Ariane Szafarz

Abstract

The success of both microcredit and micro-savings products rests upon simplicity and standardization in order to stimulate client discipline. Meanwhile, these products lack flexibility. This paper attempts to make sense of behavioral product design in microfinance. We focus on the potential trade-offs between discipline and flexibility. While discipline devices encourage clients make payments duly on time, flexibility improves clients’ day-to-day money management and helps them cope with shocks. Our contribution is twofold. First, we highlight the evidencebased advantages and disadvantages of flexible products in microfinance. Second, we present best-practice examples of flexible products offered bymicrofinance institutions worldwide.

Suggested Citation

  • Marc Labie & Carolina Laureti & Ariane Szafarz, 2016. "Discipline and Flexibility: A Behavioral Perspective on Product Design in Microfinance," Working Papers CEB 15-020, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  • Handle: RePEc:sol:wpaper:2013/199868
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    Cited by:

    1. Carolina Laureti, 2017. "Why do Poor People Co-hold Debt and Liquid Savings?," Working Papers CEB 17-007, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    2. repec:bla:devpol:v:36:y:2018:i:s1:p:o201-o219 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Microfinance; discipline; flexibility; commitment; incentive;

    JEL classification:

    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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