The purpose of this paper is to examine how shocks suffered by rural households in Ethiopia influence their decision to borrow and the source of credit.
First, suppose a household faces a set of four borrowing alternatives: only formal borrowing, only informal borrowing, both formal and informal borrowing, and non-borrowing. Second, the paper assumes that the random component is independently and identically distributed in accordance with the extreme value distribution. These assumptions lead to the multinomial logit model. The paper estimates the model using data from a survey of 350 rural households in Southern Ethiopia.
The paper finds that shocks are important factors in explaining both the decision to borrow and the source of credit. In particular, negative shocks that affect household's assets, such as the seizing of farmland and theft, or human capital, such as the death of the family head, reduce the probability of borrowing from formal lenders or from both formal and informal lenders at the same time. The study supports only to some extent the assumption that informal credit contributes to smooth consumption. Last, networking effect is very significant and demonstrates how the two markets interact.
A model that would consider dynamic consumption patterns would have been more appropriate. In fact, one of the limitations of the study is the reliance on a cross-section analysis and the data is limited to just one village. Further research would extend the data set geographically and across time.
The formal lenders are not willing to provide contingent loans, maybe because of a limited ability to assess and diversify risk. Besides, the available formal credit products are not proper to finance long term risk management strategies but pesticides, fertilizers and improved seeds that are entirely used in every agricultural cycle. In this regard, proper risk transfer strategies and instruments, as well as better tailored loan products, are needed in order to increase outreach into the rural areas.
To the authors’ knowledge, this is the first paper that investigates how shocks influence the decision to borrow and the source of credit in Ethiopia.
JEL Classifications — D14, G21, Q14
Comments by Professor Mario Miranda, Professor Laura Viganò and the late Dr Dejene Aredo greatly helped to improve an earlier version of this manuscript.
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