NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Learning by Doing with Asymmetric Information: Evidence from Prosper.com

Seth M. Freedman, Ginger Zhe Jin

NBER Working Paper No. 16855
Issued in March 2011
NBER Program(s):   IO

Using peer-to-peer (P2P) lending as an example, we show that learning by doing plays an important role in alleviating the information asymmetry between market players. Although the P2P platform (Prosper.com) discloses part of borrowers’ credit histories, lenders face serious information problems because the market is new and subject to adverse selection relative to offline markets. We find that early lenders did not fully understand the market risk but lender learning is effective in reducing the risk over time. As a result, the market excludes more and more sub-prime borrowers and evolves towards the population served by traditional credit markets.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w16855

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