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Identification strategy : a field experiment on dynamic incentives in rural credit markets

  • Gine, Xavier
  • Goldberg, Jessica
  • Yang, Dean

How do borrowers respond to improvements in a lender's ability to punish defaulters? This paper reports the results of a randomized field experiment in rural Malawi that examines the impact of fingerprinting borrowers in a context where a unique identification system is absent. Fingerprinting allows the lender to more effectively use dynamic repayment incentives: withholding future loans from past defaulters while rewarding good borrowers with better loan terms. Consistent with a simple model of borrower heterogeneity and information asymmetries, fingerprinting led to substantially higher repayment rates for borrowers with the highest ex ante default risk, but had no effect for the rest of the borrowers. The change in repayment rates is driven by reductions in adverse selection (smaller loan sizes) and lower moral hazard (for example, less diversion of loan-financed fertilizer from its intended use on the cash crop).

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5438.

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Date of creation: 01 Oct 2010
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5438
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  1. Pierre‐André Chiappori & Bruno Jullien & Bernard Salanié & François Salanié, 2006. "Asymmetric information in insurance: general testable implications," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 37(4), pages 783-798, December.
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  8. Nava Ashraf & Dean Karlan & Wesley Yin, 2006. "Tying Odysseus to the Mast: Evidence from a Commitment Savings Product in the Philippines," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(2), pages 635-672, May.
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  13. Juan M. Sanchez, 2009. "The role of information in the rise in consumer bankruptcies," Working Paper 09-04, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  14. Gin, Xavier & Yang, Dean, 2009. "Insurance, credit, and technology adoption: Field experimental evidencefrom Malawi," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(1), pages 1-11, May.
  15. Jonathan Conning & Christopher Udry, 2005. "Rural Financial Markets in Developing Countries," Working Papers 914, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  16. Dean S. Karlan & Jonathan Zinman, 2005. "Observing Unobservables: Identifying Information Asymmetries with a Consumer Credit Field Experiment," Working Papers 911, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
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