NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Sandip Mitra

Indian Statistical Institute
Sampling and Official Statistics Unit
203 BT Road
Kolkata 700108
India

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Institutional Affiliation: Indian Statistical Institute

NBER Working Papers and Publications

February 2020Decentralized Targeting of Agricultural Credit Programs: Private versus Political Intermediaries
with Pushkar Maitra, Dilip Mookherjee, Sujata Visaria: w26730
We compare two different methods of appointing a local commission agent as an intermediary for a credit program. In the Trader-Agent Intermediated Lending Scheme (TRAIL), the agent was a randomly selected established private trader, while in the Gram Panchayat-Agent Intermediated-Lending Scheme (GRAIL), he was randomly chosen from nominations by the elected village council. More TRAIL loans were taken up, but repayment rates were similar, and TRAIL loans had larger average impacts on borrowers' farm incomes. The majority of this difference in impacts is due to differences in treatment effects conditional on farmer productivity, rather than differences in borrower selection patterns. The findings can be explained by a model where TRAIL agents increased their middleman profits by helping mor...
November 2014Financing Smallholder Agriculture: An Experiment with Agent-Intermediated Microloans in India
with Pushkar Maitra, Dilip Mookherjee, Alberto Motta, Sujata Visaria: w20709
Recent evaluations of traditional microfinance loans have found no significant impacts on borrower incomes or productive activities. We examine whether this can be remedied by (a) modifying loan features to facilitate financing of working capital needs of farmers, and (b) delegating selection of borrowers for individual liability loans to local trader-lender agents incentivized by repayment-based commissions. We conduct a field experiment in West Bengal where this design (called TRAIL) was offered in randomly selected villages. In remaining villages a more traditional design (called GBL) was offered, wherein five-member groups applied for joint liability loans with terms otherwise similar to TRAIL loans. TRAIL loans increased cultivation of potatoes (the major cash crop in the region) and ...

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