Discussion Paper

Why Don't Lenders Finance High-ReturnTechnological Change in Developing-Country Agriculture?

Apr 1, 2001 | Allen Blackman

Abstract

Most of the literature attributes credit constraints in small-farm developing-country agriculture to the variability of returns to investment in this sector. But the literature does not fully explain lenders’ reluctance to finance investments in technologies that provide both higher average and less variable returns. To fill this gap, this article develops an information-theoretic credit market model with endogenous technology choice. The model demonstrates that lenders may refuse to finance any investment in a riskless high-return technology— regardless of the interest rate they are offered—when they are imperfectly informed about loan applicants’ time preferences and, therefore, about their propensities to default intentionally in order to finance current consumption.