Abstract

This paper analyzes an individual lending credit market in a rural society, where potential borrowers have a dynamic incentive of strategic default, and a benevolent lender gives them a credible threat to cut future credit when loands are not repaid. A crucial issue is that social sanction of default depends on the default rate in the society. Our analysis suggests that for a relatively small financing cost, a credit market exists where borrowers have little motivation to default voluntarily, associated with intense social sanctions. The results also reveal that a relatively large financing cost causes the credit market to collapse, since it raises motivation of default, associated with less intense social sanctions. These results could justify government support to reduce the lender's financing cost. The model further illustrates the plausibility of two equilibria: a low default rate associated with a low lending rate and intense social sanctions, and a high default rate with a high lending rate and less intense social sanctions. This could explain the possibility that the default rate is different from village to village even though these societies seem to share an almost identical environment.