Economics Research Seminar | Weatherhead School at Case Western Reserve University

Economics Research Seminar

Group Identity Promotes Altruistic Peer-to-Peer Lending

The importance of group identity has been recognized by numerous thought leaders, including Charles Darwin, who conjectured that the main evolutionary force behind human cooperation is inter-tribal competition. However, while Darwin’s conjecture has been borne out in the laboratory, its effectiveness in sustaining real-world cooperation remains an open question. In recent years, online communities, such as Wikipedia and Kiva, have been developed to bring together labor and resource contributions to help the public at large.  One key challenge facing these communities, though, is how to sustain member engagement and maximize contributions to public goods. While peer-to-peer crowd-lending sites, such as, have made loans to millions of borrowers from developing countries, one-third of Kiva lenders have never made a single loan. Here we show that lender participation can be increased if lenders are provided with recommendations of teams they can join. Using a large-scale field experiment, we find that lenders who join a team contribute significantly more compared to those who do not. 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 cooperation.

Please join the Economics Department for a research seminar.  This event is open to all Case Western Reserve University faculty, Ph.D. students, economic majors and minors, and those interested in economics research.
Contact Information:

Teresa Kabat

Friday, March 18, 2016 from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Peter B. Lewis Building, Room 05
11119 Bellflower Road
Cleveland, OH 44106-7235
United States
Speaker(s): Yan Chen, Ph.D., University of Michigan
Sponsored by: Economics Department
Group Identity


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