Economics at your fingertips  

The role of inequity aversion in microloan defaults

Matthew R. Jordan, William T. Dickens, Oliver Hauser and David G. Rand

Behavioural Public Policy, 2022, vol. 6, issue 2, 303-324

Abstract: Microcredit – joint-liability loans to the poorest of the poor – has been touted as a powerful approach for combatting global poverty, but sustainability varies dramatically across banks. Efforts to improve the sustainability of microcredit have assumed defaults are caused by free-riding. Here, we point out that the response of other group members to delinquent groupmates also plays an important role in defaults. Even in the absence of any free-rider problem, some people will be unable to make their payments due to bad luck. It is other group members’ unwillingness to pitch in extra – due to, among other things, not wanting to have less than other group members – that leads to default. To support this argument, we utilize the Ultimatum Game (UG), a standard paradigm from behavioral economics for measuring one's aversion to inequitable outcomes. First, we show that country-level variation in microloan default rates is strongly correlated (overall r = 0.81) with country-level UG rejection rates, but not free-riding measures. We then introduce a laboratory model ‘Microloan Game’ and present evidence that defaults arise from inequity-averse individuals refusing to make up the difference when others fail to pay their fair share. This perspective suggests a suite of new approaches for combatting defaults that leverage findings on reducing UG rejections.

Date: 2022
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link) ... type/journal_article link to article abstract page (text/html)

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link:

Access Statistics for this article

More articles in Behavioural Public Policy from Cambridge University Press Cambridge University Press, UPH, Shaftesbury Road, Cambridge CB2 8BS UK.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Kirk Stebbing ().

Page updated 2023-06-15
Handle: RePEc:cup:bpubpo:v:6:y:2022:i:2:p:303-324_7