Credit and Insurance

Displaying 10 Items

Information and Enforcement in Informal Credit Markets

(with Parikshit Ghosh), Economica 83, 59–90, 2016.

Summary. We study loan enforcement in informal credit markets with multiple lenders but no sharing of credit histories, and derive the dynamics of loan size and interest rates for relational lending. In the presence of a sufficient fraction of ‘natural defaulters’, the rest of the market can be incentivized against default by micro-rationing—sharper credit limits and possibly higher interest rates that serve as gateways into new borrowing relationships. When there are too few natural defaulters in the market, this can be supplemented by macro-rationing—random exclusion of some borrowers. When information collection is endogenized, multiple equilibria may arise. (Published version of unpublished notes from 2001.)

Poverty and Self-Control

(with Doug Bernheim and Sevin Yeltekin), Econometrica 83 (5), 1877-1911, 2015. Online Appendix. A link to the 1999 version, which only had numerical results.

Summary. Poverty can perpetuate itself by undermining the capacity for self-control.  Our main result demonstrates that low initial assets can limit self-control, trapping people in poverty, while those with high initial assets can accumulate indefinitely.


Informal Insurance in Social Networks

(with Francis Bloch and Garance Genicot), Journal of Economic Theory 143, 36-58, 2008.

Summary. This paper studies bilateral insurance schemes across networks of individuals.  We investigate the structure of self-enforcing insurance networks. Network links play two distinct and possibly conflictual roles. They act as conduits for both transfers and information; affecting the scope for insurance and the severity of punishments upon noncompliance. Their interaction leads to a characterization of stable networks as suitably “sparse” networks. Thickly and thinly connected networks tend to be stable, whereas intermediate degrees of connectedness jeopardize stability.

Contracts and Externalities: How Things Fall Apart

(with Garance Genicot), Journal of Economic Theory 131, 71-100, 2006.

Summary. A single principal interacts with several agents, offering them contracts. The outside-option payoffs of the agents depend positively on how many uncontracted or “free” agents there are. We study how such a principal, unwelcome though he may be, approaches the problem of contract provision to agents when coordination failure among the latter group is explicitly ruled out. Agents cannot resist an “invasion” by the principal and hold to their best payoff. It is in this sense that “things [eventually] fall apart”.

Bargaining Power and Enforcement in Credit Markets

(with Garance Genicot), Journal of Development Economics 79, 398-412, 2006.

Summary. In a credit market with enforcement constraints, we study the effects of a change in the outside options of a potential defaulter on the terms of the credit contract, as well as on borrower payoffs. The results crucially depend on the allocation of “bargaining power” between the borrower and the lender. We prove that there is a crucial threshold of relative weights such that if the borrower has power that exceeds this threshold, her expected utility must go up whenever her outside options come down. But if the borrower has less power than this threshold, her expected payoff must come down with her outside options.  These disparate findings within a single model permit us to interpret existing literature on credit markets in a unified way.


Informal Insurance, Enforcement Constraints, and Group Formation

(with Garance Genicot), in G. Demange and M. Wooders (eds), Network and Group Formation, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

Summary. This paper, largely based on Genicot and Ray (2003), discusses group formation in the context of informal insurance arrangements with enforcement constraints.

Group Formation in Risk-Sharing Arrangements

 (with Garance Genicot), Review of Economic Studies 70, 87-113, 2003.

SummaryWe study informal insurance within communities, explicitly recognizing the possibility that subgroups of individuals may destabilize insurance arrangements among the larger group. We therefore consider self-enforcing risk-sharing agreements that are robust not only to single-person deviations but also to potential deviations by subgroups. Variant on an Example in the paper. A conjecture related to the paper.

Credit Rationing in Developing Countries: An Overview of the Theory

(with Parikshit Ghosh and Debraj Ray), Chapter 11 in Readings in the Theory of Economic Development, edited by Dilip Mookherjee and Debraj Ray, London: Blackwell, 383–301l, 2000.

Summary. This paper surveys the theoretical development literature on credit markets.

Vertical Linkages between Formal and Informal Financial Institutions

(with Maria Floro), Review of Development Economics 1, 34-56, 1997.

Summary. The paper investigates vertical linkages between formal and informal financial institutions. Specifically, it studies a policy that expands formal credit to informal lenders, in the hope that this will improve loan terms for borrowers who are shut out of the formal sector. Special attention is paid to the Philippines. It is argued that the effects of stronger vertical links depend on the form of lender competition. In particular, if the relationship between lenders is one of strategic cooperation (sustained by threats of reprisal in a repeated setting), an expansion of formal credit may worsen the terms faced by informal borrowers.

Interlinkages and the Pattern of Competition

(with Kunal Sengupta), in P. Bardhan (ed.) The Economic Theory of Agrarian Institutions, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1989.

Summary. This paper provides a broad set of conditions interlinked contracts will not be observed. These conditions are given to throw better light on the circumstances in which interlinkage will indeed be observed.