nep-mfd New Economics Papers
on Microfinance
Issue of 2009‒11‒14
two papers chosen by
Olivier Dagnelie
Instituto de Analisis Economico, CSIC

  1. Screening in New Credit Markets: Can Individual Lenders Infer Borrower Creditworthiness in Peer-to-Peer Lending? By Iyer, Rajkamal; Khwaja, Asim Ijaz; Luttmer, Erzo F. P.; Shue, Kelly
  2. Does Formality Improve Micro-Firm Performance? Quasi-Experimental Evidence from the Brazilian SIMPLES Program By Fajnzylber, Pablo; Maloney, William F.; Montes-Rojas, Gabriel V.

  1. By: Iyer, Rajkamal (MIT); Khwaja, Asim Ijaz (Harvard University); Luttmer, Erzo F. P. (Harvard University); Shue, Kelly (Harvard University)
    Abstract: The current banking crisis highlights the challenges faced in the traditional lending model, particularly in terms of screening smaller borrowers. The recent growth in online peer-to-peer lending marketplaces offers opportunities to examine different lending models that rely on screening by multiple peers. This paper evaluates the screening ability of lenders in such peer-to-peer markets. Our methodology takes advantage of the fact that lenders do not observe a borrower's true credit score but only see an aggregate credit category. We find that lenders are able to use available information to infer a third of the variation in creditworthiness that is captured by a borrower's credit score. This inference is economically significant and allows lenders to lend at a 140-basis-points lower rate for borrowers with (unobserved to lenders) better credit scores within a credit category. While lenders infer the most from standard banking "hard" information, they also use non-standard (subjective) information. Our methodology shows, without needing to code subjective information that lenders learn even from such "softer" information, particularly when it is likely to provide credible signals regarding borrower creditworthiness. Our findings highlight the screening ability of peer-to-peer markets and suggest that these emerging markets may provide a viable complement to traditional lending markets, especially for smaller borrowers.
    JEL: D53 D80 G21 L81
    Date: 2009–08
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:ecl:harjfk:rwp09-031&r=mfd
  2. By: Fajnzylber, Pablo (World Bank); Maloney, William F. (World Bank); Montes-Rojas, Gabriel V. (City University London)
    Abstract: This paper employs regression discontinuity methods to identify the effect of formality on Brazilian micro-firm performance. The SIMPLES program introduced in November 1996 consolidated multiple taxes and social security contributions into a single payment and reduced taxes for eligible small firms. This provides a quasi-natural experiment that allows us to eliminate many of the endogeneity issues surrounding the impact of formality, measured across several dimensions, on firm performance. We find that SIMPLES had a significant effect on the proportion of firms that have a license to operate, are registered as a legal entity, pay taxes and make social security contributions. Moreover, newly created firms that opt for operating formally achieve higher levels of revenue and profits, employ more workers and are more capital intensive (only for those firms that have employees). The channel through which this occurs is not access to credit or contracts with larger firms. Rather, it appears that the lower cost of contracting labor leads to adopting production techniques that involve greater permanence and a larger paid labor force.
    Keywords: micro-firms, self-employment, informality
    JEL: J23 L25
    Date: 2009–10
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4531&r=mfd

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