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Contractual Restrictions and Debt Traps

Ernest Liu and Benjamin Roth
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Ernest Liu: Princeton University
Benjamin Roth: Harvard University

Working Papers from Princeton University. Economics Department.

Abstract: Microcredit and other forms of small-scale finance have failed to catalyze entrepreneurship in developing countries. In these credit markets, borrowers and lenders often bargain over not only the interest rate but also implicit restrictions on types of investment. We build a dynamic model of informal lending and show this may lead to endogenous debt traps. Lenders constrain business growth for poor borrowers yet richer borrowers may grow their businesses faster than they could have without credit. The theory offers nuanced comparative statics and rationalizes the low average impact and low demand of microfinance despite its high impact on larger businesses.

Keywords: credit markets; developing countries (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: E51 O12 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020-07
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ent, nep-fdg, nep-iue, nep-mac and nep-mfd
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (1)

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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:pri:econom:2020-30

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