Selection Into Credit Markets: Evidence From Agriculture in Mali

Lori Beaman*, Dean Karlan, Bram Thuysbaert, Christopher R Udry

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


We use a two-stage experiment on agricultural lending in Mali to test whether selection into lending is predictive of heterogeneous returns to capital. Understanding this heterogeneity, and the selection process which reveals it, is critical for guiding modeling of credit markets in developing countries, as well as for policy. We find such heterogeneity: returns to capital are higher for farmers who borrow than for those who do not. In our first stage, we offer loans in some villages and not others. In the second stage, we provide cash grants to a random subset of all farmers in villages where no loans were offered, and to a random subset of the farmers who do not borrow in villages where loans were offered. We estimate seasonal returns to the grant of 130% for would-be borrowers, whereas we find returns near zero for the sample representative of non-borrowers. We also provide evidence that there are some farmers—particularly those that are poor at baseline—that have high returns but do not receive a loan.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1595-1627
Number of pages33
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2023


  • agriculture
  • Credit markets
  • returns to capital

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics


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