Blue Bag Lunch Talk with Professor Yan Chen

Thu, 12/06/2018 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm

South Hall 0220

Effects of Team Membership on Pro-Social Lending in Online Microfinance


Yan Chen will present two large-scale field experiments designed to test the hypothesis that group membership can increase participation and pro-social lending for an online crowdlending community, Kiva. The first experiment uses variations on a simple email manipulation to encourage Kiva members to join teams as well as the subsequent impact on lending. We find that emails do increase the likelihood that a lender joins a team, and that joining a team increases lending in a short window following our intervention. The impact on lending is large relative to median lender lifetime loans. We also find that lenders are more likely to join teams recommended based on location similarity rather than team status. Our results suggest team recommendation can be an effective behavioral mechanism to increase pro-social lending. In a second field experiment, we manipulate forum messages to explore the underlying mechanisms for teams to be effective.

Speaker Bio

Yan Chen is the Daniel Kahneman Collegiate Professor in the School of Information. She also holds an appointment as a research professor with the U-M Institute for Social Research. Her research interests are in behavioral and experimental economics, market and mechanism design, and public economics. She conducts both theoretical and experimental research.