Do Small Farmers Borrow Less when the Lending rate Increases? The Case of Rice Farming in the Philippines
The new generation of credit programs directed at small borrowers emphasizes financial sustainability. Based on anecdotal information (especially from microfinance experiences), proponents of cost recovery claim that raising formal lending rates would have a minimal impact on borrowing. Rigorous evidence for this conjecture is however sparse. This study conducts an econometric test of this conjecture using data from a survey of small rice farmers from the Philippines. Alternative regression techniques tend to reject the conjecture; in particular, a regression that controls for selection effects shows a unitary elastic response of formal borrowing to the lending rate.
The paper is organized as follows: Section 1 is introduction to the study. Section 2 provides additional background and related studies. Section 3 develops the theoretical framework and econometric model. Section 4 presents the survey frame and data analysis. Section 5 concludes.