University of Pittsburgh
March 15, 2012

Pitt Faculty Expert Available to Talk About Microlender Kiva.org’s New Free Trial Loan Offer

Andrew Stephen says lenders are more likely to give to small groups, people most like themselves
Contact:  412-624-4147

 

PITTSBURGH—Kiva.org, one of the world’s largest online microfinancing sites that helps arrange loans for mostly low-income entrepreneurs and families, recently announced that Reid Hoffman, founder of networking site LinkedIn, has funded a $1 million free trial program to allow new Kiva users to make loans to borrowers of their choice, at no cost to the lender. Andrew Stephen, assistant professor of business administration and a Katz Fellow in marketing in the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh, is available to comment on lenders’ behavior and how they decide whom to lend to.

“One of the interesting aspects of the Kiva loan program is that lenders get to choose whom they want to lend money to,” Stephen said.  

Stephen, the coauthor of “Microfinance Decision Making: A Field Study of Prosocial Lending,” published in November 2011 in the Journal of Marketing Research, reviewed more than 289,000 loans worth approximately $19 million made through Kiva.org and found that lenders preferred lending money to individuals over groups and that the chance of a group receiving funds decreased as the size of the group increased.

“New lenders who take advantage of Kiva’s free trial may find themselves drawn to some borrowers but not others,” Stephen said. “And, chances are, the borrowers they choose will be those with whom they can more easily identify and have something in common.”

Stephen’s research showed that Kiva lenders were more likely to lend to borrowers who were similar to themselves on such dimensions as gender and occupation.

Stephen is a recognized expert on social media and digital marketing and teaches social media marketing at Pitt in the MBA and undergraduate programs. He has worked with companies such as American Express, Dynamic Logic, Google, Havas, Publicis, and WPP, and he advises several digital/social media start-ups.

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3/15/12/mab/lks/jdh

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