Lending to women in microfinance: influence of social trust and national culture Lending to women in microfinance: influence of social trust and national culture
The preference of microfinance institutions for women borrowers is generally attributed to two reasons: women borrowers are more trustworthy and have greater social impact. However, the role of social trust with regard to this gender preference has not been adequately investigated. Controlling for the social outreach goals of MFIs, we document that MFIs favor women more in low trust countries, suggesting that women are targeted to offset low social trust. We also examine how the nature of trust formation affects this relationship between gender targeting and trust. Our results should be of considerable interest to policymakers and scholars.
AUTHORS: Goodell, John; Aggarwal, Raj
Venture capital (VC) and growth are examined both empirically and theoretically. Empirically, VC-backed startups have higher early growth rates and initial patent quality than non-VC-backed ones. VC backing increases a startup's likelihood of reaching the right tails of the firm size and innovation distributions. Furthermore, outcomes are better for startups matched with more experienced venture capitalists. An endogenous growth model, where venture capitalists provide both expertise and financing for business startups, is constructed to match these facts. The presence of venture capital, the degree of assortative matching between startups and financiers, and the taxation of VC-backed startups matter significantly for growth.
AUTHORS: Akcigit, Ufuk; Dinlersoz, Emin M.; Greenwood, Jeremy; Penciakova, Veronika
Credit Scores, Social Capital, and Stock Market Participation
While a rapidly growing body of research underscores the influence of social capital on financial decisions and economic developments, objective data-based measurements of social capital are lacking. We introduce average credit scores as an indicator of a community's social capital and present evidence that this measure is consistent with, but richer and more robust than, those used in the existing literature, such as electoral participation, blood donations, and survey-based measures. Merging unique proprietary credit score data with two nationwide representative household surveys, we show that households residing in communities with higher social capital are more likely to invest in stocks, even after controlling for a rich set of socioeconomic, preferential, neighborhood, and demographic characteristics. Notably, such a relationship is robustly observed only when social capital is measured using community average credit scores. Consistent with the notion that social capital and trust promote stock investment, we find the following: first, the association between average credit score and stock ownership is more pronounced among the lower educated; second, social capital levels of the county where one grew up appear to have a lasting influence on future stock investment; and third, investors who did not own stocks before have a greater chance of entering the stock market a few years after they relocate to higher-score communities.
AUTHORS: Bricker, Jesse; Li, Geng
The great housing boom of China
China's housing prices have been growing nearly twice as fast as national income in the past decade despite (1) a phenomenal rate of return to capital and (2) an alarmingly high vacancy rate. This paper interprets such a prolonged paradoxical housing boom as a rational bubble that emerges naturally from China's large-scale economic transition, featuring an exceptionally high rate of return to capital driven by massive resource reallocation. Because such primarily resource-reallocation-driven high capital returns are not sustainable in the long run, expectations of high future demand for alternative stores of value can induce even the currently most productive agents to speculate in the housing market, even if housing provides no rents or utilities. We show that such speculative investment behavior can create a self-fulfilling housing bubble that grows much faster than the national income during an economic transition, thus explaining China's massive "ghost apartment" phenomenon and decade-long faster-than-income growth in housing prices despite high capital returns.
AUTHORS: Wen, Yi; Chen, Kaiji
Can Self-Help Groups Really Be 'Self-Help'?
We provide an experimental and theoretical evaluation of a cost-reducing innovation in the delivery of "self-help group" microfinance services, in which privatized agents earn payments through membership fees for providing services. Under the status quo, agents are paid by an outside donor and offer members free services. In our multi-country randomized control trial we evaluate the change in this incentive scheme on agent behavior and performance, and on overall village-level outcomes. We find that privatized agents start groups, attract members, mobilize savings, and intermediate loans at similar levels after a year but at much lower costs to the NGO. At the village level, we find higher levels of borrowing, business-related savings, and investment in business. Examining mechanisms, we find that self-help groups serve more business-oriented clientele when facilitated by agents who face strong financial incentives.
AUTHORS: Kaboski, Joseph P.; Van Leemput, Eva; Greaney, Brian
Interest Rate Volatility and Sudden Stops : An Empirical Investigation
Using a multi-country regime-switching vector autoregressive (VAR) model we document the existence of two regimes in the volatility of interest rates at which emerging economies borrow from international financial markets, and study the statistical relationship of such regimes with episodes of sudden stops. Periods of high volatility tend to be persistent and are associated with high interest rates, the occurrence of sudden stops in external financing, and large declines in economic activity. Most strikingly, we show that regime switches drive the countercyclicality of interest rates in emerging markets documented in previous literature (Neumeyer and Perri, 2005) and that high-volatility regimes forecast sudden stops 6 and 12 months ahead.
AUTHORS: Reyes-Heroles, Ricardo M.; Tenorio, Gabriel
Fewer but Better : Sudden Stops, Firm Entry, and Financial Selection
We incorporate endogenous technical change into a real business cycle small open economy framework to study the productivity costs of sudden stops. In this economy, productivity growth is determined by the entry of new firms and the expansion decisions of incumbent firms. New firms are created after the implementation of business ideas, yet the quality of ideas is heterogeneous and good ideas are scarce. Selection of the most promising ideas gives rise to a trade-off between mass (quantity) and composition (quality) in the entrant cohort. Chilean plant-level data from the sudden stop triggered by the Russian sovereign default in 1998 confirm the main mechanism of the model, as firms born during the credit shortage are fewer, but better. The quantitative analysis shows that four years after the crisis, 12.5% of the output deviation from trend is due to permanent productivity losses. Distortions in the entry margin account for 40% of the loss, and the remainder is due to distortion in the expansion decisions of incumbents.
AUTHORS: Saffie, Felipe; Ates, Sina T.
Internal Liquidity Management and Local Credit Provision
This paper studies the patterns of internal liquidity management and their effect on bank lending, using a novel branch-level dataset of Brazilian banks. Our results suggest that internal liquidity management increases during times of financial stress. Privately owned banks are most affected by a liquidity shock, and increase the level of internal funding to maintain their branch lending, while their government-owned competitors react strategically. Private and government banks increase the funding of branches in concentrated and riskier areas. This funding translates into more lending, as the sensitivity of lending to internal funding remains high after the liquidity shock. Altogether, this paper provides branch-level evidence of the way that banks ration internal liquidity, both in normal times and in times of stress, and the effect this has on bank lending.
AUTHORS: Goldrosen, Jason; Feler, Leo; Correa, Ricardo; Coleman, Nicholas
Finance and Inequality : The Distributional Impacts of Bank Credit Rationing
We analyze reductions in bank credit using a natural experiment where unprecedented flooding differentially affected banks that were more exposed to flooded regions in Pakistan. Using a unique dataset that covers the universe of consumer loans in Pakistan and this exogenous shock to bank funding, we find two key results. First, banks disproportionately reduce credit to new and less-educated borrowers, following an increase in their funding costs. Second, the credit reduction is not compensated by relatively more lending by less-affected banks. The empirical evidence suggests that adverse selection is the primary cause for banks disproportionately reducing credit to new borrowers.
AUTHORS: Jain, Anil K.; Choudhary, M. Ali
Government Connections and Financial Constraints: Evidence from a Large Representative Sample of Chinese Firms
We examine the role of firms' government connections, defined by government intervention in CEO appointment and the status of state ownership, in determining the severity of financial constraints faced by Chinese firms. We demonstrate that government connections are associated with substantially less severe financial constraints (i.e., less reliance on internal cash flows to fund investment), and that the sensitivity of investment to internal cash flows is higher for firms that report greater obstacles to obtaining external funds. We also find that those large non-state firms with weak government connections, likely the engine for innovation in the coming years in China, are especially financially constrained, due perhaps to the formidable hold that their state rivals have on financial resources after the 'grabbing-the-big-and-letting-go-the-small' privatization program in China. Our empirical results suggest that government connections play an important role in explaining Chinese firms' financing conditions, and provide further evidence on the nature of the misallocation of credit by China's dominant state-owned banks.
AUTHORS: Li, Wei; Sun, Bo; Cull, Robert; Xu, Lixin Colin