NBER Working Papers by Tavneet Suri

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Working Papers

September 2016Borrowing Requirements, Credit Access, and Adverse Selection: Evidence from Kenya
with William Jack, Michael Kremer, Joost de Laat: w22686
We examine the potential of asset-collateralized loans in low-income country credit markets. When a Kenyan dairy cooperative exogenously replaced high down payments and joint liability requirements with loans collateralized by the asset itself - a large water tank- loan take-up increased from 2.4% to 41.9%. In contrast, substituting joint liability requirements for deposit requirements had no impact on loan take up. There were no repossessions among farmers allowed to collateralize 75% of their loans, and a 0.7% repossession rate among those offered 96% asset collateralization. A Karlan-Zinman test based on waiving borrowing requirements ex post finds evidence of adverse selection with very low deposit requirements, but not of moral hazard. A simple model and rough calibration suggests tha...
Research and Impacts of Digital Financial Services
with Dean Karlan, Jake Kendall, Rebecca Mann, Rohini Pande, Jonathan Zinman: w22633
A growing body of rigorous research shows that financial services innovations can have important positive impacts on wellbeing, but also that many do not. We first describe the latest evidence on what works in financial inclusion. Second, we summarize research on key financial market failures and on products and innovations that address specific mechanisms underlying them. We conclude by highlighting open areas for future work.
January 2011Mobile Money: The Economics of M-PESA
with William Jack: w16721
Mobile money is a tool that allows individuals to make financial transactions using cell phone technology. In this paper, we report initial results of two rounds of a large survey of households in Kenya, the country that has seen perhaps the most rapid and widespread growth of a mobile money product - known locally as M‐PESA - in the developing world. We first summarize the mechanics of M-PESA, and review its potential economic impacts. We then document the sequencing of adoption across households according to income and wealth, location, gender, and other socio‐economic characteristics, as well as the purposes for which the technology is used, including saving, sending and receiving remittances, and direct purchases of goods and services. In addition, we report findings from a survey of M...
September 2009Selection and Comparative Advantage in Technology Adoption
This paper investigates an empirical puzzle in technology adoption for developing countries: the low adoption rates of technologies like hybrid maize that increase average farm profits dramatically. I offer a simple explanation for this: benefits and costs of technologies are heterogeneous, so that farmers with low net returns do not adopt the technology. I examine this hypothesis by estimating a correlated random coefficient model of yields and the corresponding distribution of returns to hybrid maize. This distribution indicates that the group of farmers with the highest estimated gross returns does not use hybrid, but their returns are correlated with high costs of acquiring the technology (due to poor infrastructure). Another group of farmers has lower returns and adopts, while the mar...

Published: “Selection and Comparative Advantage in Technology Adoption”, Econometrica., 79 (1), pp. 159-209, January 2011.

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