Social collateral, soft information and online peer-to-peer lending: A theoretical model

Online Peer-to-Peer lending has emerged as an attractive credit markets for small borrowers who have limited access to traditional credit markets. Liu et al. (2019) develop a theoretical model incorporating two unique features of P2P lending (soft information and social collateral) and find that in P2P, low-risk borrowers could force high-risk ones off the market under very general conditions. As a consequence, P2P complements traditional credit markets by serving the unserved (low-risk borrowers with little assets) in the traditional credit markets. Next, the authors further identify the critical operational settings for P2P success, and the impacts of these settings on borrowers’ welfare. Overall, their model and analyses not only contribute to the literature by showing analytically that P2P and the traditional credit markets are complementary, but also provide practical guidance to P2P platform managers regarding their platform design to help reshape business strategies and enhance business opportunities.

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