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Competing lending platforms, endogenous reputation, and fragility in microcredit markets

Bardsley, Peter and Meager, Rachael (2018) Competing lending platforms, endogenous reputation, and fragility in microcredit markets. European Economic Review, 112. pp. 107-126. ISSN 0014-2921

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Identification Number: 10.1016/j.euroecorev.2018.12.003


This paper shows that market fragility and mass default can arise in microcredit markets as a result of the strategic interaction between a microlender using a reputation-based mechanism and a traditional lender using physical collateral. In our model, borrowers solve a dynamic programming problem which induces an endogenous equilibrium distribution of reputational capital. Because the quality of each lender's pool of borrowers is affected by both lenders' interest rates, lender reaction curves are non-monotonic and discontinuous. This can result in knife edge equilibria and mass default on the microlender precipitated by minor parametric perturbations. Fragility is exacerbated by borrower screening and sovereign risk, but ameliorated when microlenders have social welfare goals. Our results highlight the importance of studying the entire credit market rather than microfinance in isolation.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2018 Elsevier B.V.
Divisions: Economics
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
H Social Sciences > HG Finance
JEL classification: D - Microeconomics > D8 - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty > D82 - Asymmetric and Private Information
G - Financial Economics > G2 - Financial Institutions and Services > G21 - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
O - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth > O1 - Economic Development > O16 - Economic Development: Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance
Date Deposited: 05 Jun 2018 15:53
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 01:27

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