Karlan, Dean (2007) "Social Connections and Group Banking." Economic Journal 117(517): F52-F84.
Lending to the poor is expensive due to high screening, monitoring and enforcement costs. Group lending advocates believe lenders overcome this by harnessing social connections. Using data from FINCA-Peru, I exploit a quasi-random group formation process to find evidence of peers successfully monitoring and enforcing joint-liability loans. Individuals with stronger social connections to their fellow group members (i.e., either living closer or being of a similar culture) have higher repayment and higher savings. Furthermore, I observe direct evidence that relationships deteriorate after default, and that through successful monitoring, individuals know who to punish and who not to punish after default.
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