The researchers evaluated two interventions to examine the effect of the frequency of microfinance group meetings on social capital formation, informal risk sharing, default rate, and female empowerment. In the first intervention, 100 lending groups of first-time borrowers were randomized into three experimental arms where lending groups met to make loan payments monthly (control), weekly (first treatment), and a third that met weekly but repaid monthly (second treatment). In this intervention, the researchers examined the effects of weekly meetings vs. monthly meetings on social interaction, willingness to pool risk, and default rate with borrowers in monthly meetings as the control group.
In the second intervention, 148 loan groups were randomized into two experimental arms: the control arm with a monthly repayment schedule and the treatment arm with a weekly repayment schedule. The participants included first-time borrowers and repeat borrowers. In this intervention, the researchers examined the effects of weekly meetings vs. monthly meetings on long term social capital formation and female empowerment. The researchers also investigated heterogeneity of treatment effects.