Group Lending and Mitigation of Adverse Selection in Microfinance

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Maurya (2011) perfectly summarised the concepts of adverse selection and group lending. In essence, microfinance works on a joint liability model and the traditional theories of credit lending state that rural credit markets are imperfectly competitive and acquiring information about borrower types on who is risky and who is safe is not costless. This market imperfection leads to high interest rates and drives out safe borrowers from the credit market. In economic literature, this problem is considered as adverse selection problem and the joint liability model tries to solve the problem of adverse selection through group lending (Maurya, 2011).  

Group lending generally denotes a credit advancing model where individuals who do not have collateral form a group based on joint liability to access loans. It is widely regarded as one of the most important institutional innovations in development policy in the last quarter century (Morduch, 1999). The most understanding feature of group lending is joint liability. Joint liability to a group obligation that if one member of the group defaults on their loan all the other group members will contribute jointly to cover the defaulted amount. As a result the whole group is jointly liable for the pool of loans granted to each member of the group. Any member in default will spread the default to other group members regardless of them being personally in default or not. Recently many developments institutions have tried to use group lending to give loans to the poor and achieve the following: Avoid the use of collateral as it would be replaced by joint liability. pass off the screening, monitoring and enforcement of loans to the peers Reduce fixed transaction costs associated with issuing out very small loans

The adverse selection problem occurs when lenders cannot distinguish inherently risky borrowers from safer borrowers. If lenders could distinguish by risk type, they could charge different interest rates to...
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