IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/sol/wpaper/2013-309493.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Surviving debt, survival debt in times of lockdown

Author

Listed:
  • Isabelle Guérin
  • Sébastien Michiels
  • Arnaud Natal
  • Christophe Jalil Nordman
  • Govindan Venkatasubramanian

Abstract

This article focuses on the consequences of the Indian lockdown in terms of debt. It is based on an ongoing study in a rural area of Tamil Nadu, South India. It draws on a long-term knowledge of this region, longitudinal quantitative household survey data on employment, debt and assets (2010-2016/17) as well as qualitative surveys conducted by telephone since the beginning of the lockdown in March 2020. Our results show: (i) the drying up of part of farm income and the bulk of off-farm income; (ii) the limited role of cash saving and cash transfers; (iii) the debt burden, since the population has faced massive debt growth over the past decade and some households are already very financially fragile; (iv) a predominance of informal finance with, however, a rise in finance; (v) a suspension of repayments, including for most informal lenders; (vi) a halt to unsecured debt and an erosion of the trust that cements most transactions; (vii) finally, the emergence of new forms of secured debt that threaten household assets. The sharp rise in debt observed over the last decade is the result of a widening of credit opportunities, partly formal but mostly informal. These have been made possible by building new relationships of trust but also of confidence in the future, based on strong economic growth that was believed to be sustainable. The lockdown highlights the fragility of these dynamics. For the poorest (mostly, but not only, Dalits), neither the state nor intra-caste or kinship solidarity are sufficient as a safety net. Impoverishment and a return to old forms of dependency seem to be the only way out.

Suggested Citation

  • Isabelle Guérin & Sébastien Michiels & Arnaud Natal & Christophe Jalil Nordman & Govindan Venkatasubramanian, 2020. "Surviving debt, survival debt in times of lockdown," Working Papers CEB 20-009, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  • Handle: RePEc:sol:wpaper:2013/309493
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://dipot.ulb.ac.be/dspace/bitstream/2013/309493/3/wp20009.pdf
    File Function: Full text for the whole work, or for a work part
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Chi Huu Nguyen & Christophe J. Nordman, 2018. "Household Entrepreneurship and Social Networks: Panel Data Evidence from Vietnam," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 54(4), pages 594-618, April.
    2. Lucas Chancel & Thomas Piketty, 2019. "Indian Income Inequality, 1922‐2015: From British Raj to Billionaire Raj?," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 65(S1), pages 33-62, November.
    3. Srinivasan, Sharada, 2005. "Daughters or dowries? The changing nature of dowry practices in south India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 593-615, April.
    4. Dean Karlan & Aishwarya Lakshmi Ratan & Jonathan Zinman, 2014. "Savings by and for the Poor: A Research Review and Agenda," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 60(1), pages 36-78, March.
    5. Isabelle Guérin & Govindan Venkatasubramanian & Santosh Kumar, 2020. "Rethinking saving: Indian ceremonial gifts as relational and reproductive saving," Journal of Cultural Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(4), pages 387-401, July.
    6. Jann Goedecke & Isabelle Guérin & Bert D'Espallier & Govindan Venkatasubramanian, 2018. "Why do financial inclusion policies fail in mobilizing savings from the poor? Lessons from rural south India," Development Policy Review, Overseas Development Institute, vol. 36(S1), pages 201-219, March.
    7. Himanshu, & Jha, Praveen & Rodgers, Gerry (ed.), 2016. "The Changing Village in India: Insights from Longitudinal Research," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199461868.
    8. Hilger, Anne & Nordman, Christophe Jalil, 2020. "The Determinants of Trust: Evidence from Rural South India," IZA Discussion Papers 13150, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    9. Dean Karlan & Aishwarya Lakshmi Ratan & Jonathan Zinman, 2014. "Savings by and for the Poor: A Research Review and Agenda," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 60(1), pages 36-78, March.
    10. R. B. Bhagat & Reshmi R S, 2020. "The COVID-19, Migration and Livelihood in India," Working Papers id:13054, eSocialSciences.
    11. Elena Reboul & Isabelle Guérin & Antony Raj & G. Venkatasubramanian, 2019. "Managing Economic Volatility. A Gender Perspective," Working Papers CEB 19-015, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    12. Hadrien Saiag, 2020. "Financialization from the margins," Post-Print hal-02516543, HAL.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Hai‐Anh Dang & Peter Lanjouw & Elise Vrijburg, 2021. "Poverty in India in the face of Covid‐19: Diagnosis and prospects," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 25(4), pages 1816-1837, November.
    2. Isabelle Guérin & Vincent Guermond & Nithya Joseph & Nithya Natarajan & Govindan Venkatasubramanian, 2021. "COVID‐19 and the Unequalizing Infrastructures of Financial Inclusion in Tamil Nadu," Development and Change, International Institute of Social Studies, vol. 52(4), pages 927-951, July.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Steinert, Janina Isabel & Vasumati Satish, Rucha & Stips, Felix & Vollmer, Sebastian, 2022. "Commitment or concealment? Impacts and use of a portable saving device: Evidence from a field experiment in urban India," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 193(C), pages 367-398.
    2. P.V. Viswanath, 2021. "Connectivity and Savings Propensity among Odisha Tribals," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 13(2), pages 1-15, January.
    3. Geng, Xin & Janssens, Wendy & Kramer, Berber, 2018. "Liquid milk: Cash Constraints and Recurring Savings among Dairy Farmers in Kenya," 2018 Annual Meeting, August 5-7, Washington, D.C. 273823, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    4. Prina, Silvia, 2015. "Banking the poor via savings accounts: Evidence from a field experiment," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 16-31.
    5. Renata Baborska & Emilio Hernandez & Emiliano Magrini & Cristian Morales-Opazo, 2020. "The impact of financial inclusion on rural food security experience: A perspective from low-and middle-income countries," Review of Development Finance Journal, Chartered Institute of Development Finance, vol. 10(2), pages 1-18.
    6. Di Giannatale, Sonia & Roa, María José, 2017. "Formal Saving in Developing Economies: Barriers, Interventions, and Effects," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 8107, Inter-American Development Bank.
    7. Knar Khachatryan & Vardan Baghdasaryan & Valentina Hartarska, 2018. "Is the model loans-plus-savings better for microfinance in ECA? A PSM comparison," Working Paper c5a69366-4231-479c-879d-c, European Microfinance Network.
    8. Grohmann, Antonia & Klühs, Theres & Menkhoff, Lukas, 2018. "Does financial literacy improve financial inclusion? Cross country evidence," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 84-96.
    9. Leandro De Magalhães & Dongya Koh & Raül Santaeulàlia-Llopis, 2016. "Consumption and Expenditure in Sub-Saharan Africa," Bristol Economics Discussion Papers 16/677, School of Economics, University of Bristol, UK, revised 07 Oct 2016.
    10. María José Roa García & Diana Mejía (ed.), 2018. "Decisiones financieras de los hogares e inclusión financiera: evidencia para América Latina y el Caribe," Investigación Conjunta-Joint Research, Centro de Estudios Monetarios Latinoamericanos, CEMLA, edition 1, volume 1, number 7sp, Enero-mar.
    11. Mirpourian, Mehrdad, 2020. "A Gendered Look at Savings Behavior among Nigerian Microsavers," MPRA Paper 103062, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. Nadine Muller & Shannon A McMahon & Jan-Walter De Neve & Alexej Funke & Till Bärnighausen & Elsa N Rajemison & Etienne Lacroze & Julius V Emmrich & Samuel Knauss, 2020. "Facilitators and barriers to the implementation of a Mobile Health Wallet for pregnancy-related health care: A qualitative study of stakeholders’ perceptions in Madagascar," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 15(1), pages 1-15, January.
    13. Leandro DE MAGALHÃES & Dongya KOH & Räul SANTAEULILA-LLOPIS, 2019. "The Cost of Consumption Smoothing: Less Schooling and less Nutrition," JODE - Journal of Demographic Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 85(3), pages 181-208, September.
    14. Steinert, Janina I. & Zenker, Juliane & Filipiak, Ute & Movsisyan, Ani & Cluver, Lucie D. & Shenderovich, Yulia, 2018. "Do saving promotion interventions increase household savings, consumption, and investments in Sub-Saharan Africa? A systematic review and meta-analysis," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 238-256.
    15. Brune, Lasse & Kerwin, Jason T., 2019. "Income timing and liquidity constraints: Evidence from a randomized field experiment," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 138(C), pages 294-308.
    16. Hadrien Saiag, 2020. "Consumer Credit and Debt," Post-Print halshs-03095993, HAL.
    17. Ana María Iregui-Bohórquez & Ligia Alba Melo-Becerra & María Teresa Ramírez-Giraldo & Ana María Tribín-Uribe, 2018. "Crédito formal e informal de los hogares en Colombia," Investigación Conjunta-Joint Research, in: María José Roa García & Diana Mejía (ed.), Decisiones financieras de los hogares e inclusión financiera: evidencia para América Latina y el Caribe, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 5, pages 133-166, Centro de Estudios Monetarios Latinoamericanos, CEMLA.
    18. Joshua Blumenstock & Michael Callen & Tarek Ghani, 2018. "Why Do Defaults Affect Behavior? Experimental Evidence from Afghanistan," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 108(10), pages 2868-2901, October.
    19. Augustine Kwadwo Yeboah, 2019. "Drivers of Savings Account Ownership Status: A Cross-Sectional Analysis from Ghana," Journal of Social and Development Sciences, AMH International, vol. 10(1), pages 51-60.
    20. Mirpourian, Mehrdad, 2020. "A Gendered Look at Savings Behavior among Nigerian Microsavers," MPRA Paper 103221, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Debt; lockdown; caste; employment; India; Trust;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • B55 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - Social Economics
    • I13 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Insurance, Public and Private
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • O18 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure
    • R20 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - General
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:sol:wpaper:2013/309493. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/cebulbe.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Benoit Pauwels (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/cebulbe.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.