Joint Economics and TM Seminar

Speaker Name: 
Yan Chen
Start Time: 
Friday, November 17, 2017 - 1:45pm
E2 - 499

Fall 2017 CAFIN Lecture: "Recommending teams promotes pro-social lending in online microfinance"

Abstract: We report the results of two large-scale field experiments designed to test the hypothesis that group membership can increase participation and pro-social lending for an online crowdlending community, Kiva. The experiment uses variations on a simple email manipulation to encourage Kiva members to join a lending team, testing which types of team recommendation emails are most likely to get members to join teams as well as the subsequent impact on lending. We find that emails do increase the likelihood that a lender joins a team, and that joining a team increases lending in a short window following our intervention. The impact on lending is large relative to median lender lifetime loans. 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 pro-social lending. (

Bio: Yan Chen is the Daniel Kahneman Collegiate Professor of Information at the University of Michigan, and Distinguished Visiting Professor of Economics at Tsinghua University. Her research interests include market and mechanism design, behavioral and experimental economics, and information economics. Chen has published in leading economic journals, such as the American Economic Review, Journal of Political Economy, Journal of Economic Theory, Journal of Public Economics, and Games and Economic Behavior. She has also published in conference proceedings in computer science, such as CHI and WSDM. She serves as an associate editor of Management Science, an advisory editor of Games and Economic Behavior, and an associate editor of Experimental Economics.