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An important question to microfinance is the relevance of existing social capital in target communities to the performance of group lending. This research presents evidence from field experiments in South Africa and Armenia, in which subjects participate in trust and microfinance games. We present evidence that personal trust between group members and peer homogeneity are more important to group loan repayment than general societal trust or acquaintanceship between members. We also find some evidence of reciprocity: those who have been helped by other group members in the past are more likely to contribute in the future.


This is the accepted version of the following article: Alessandra Cassar, Luke Crowley and Bruce Wydick. The effect of social capital on group loan repayment: evidence from field experiments. The Economic Journal. Volume 117, Issue 517, pages F85–F106, February 2007, which has been published in final form at

Presented by Crowley at the July 2005 Conference on Microfinance in Groningen, the Netherlands. Symposium on the Empirics of Microfinance.



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