Does Membership in a Nominal Online Group Affect Long-Term Customer Behaviors? Results from a Naturalistic Field Experiment on Kiva.org
42 Pages Posted: 27 Jan 2015 Last revised: 28 Apr 2020
Date Written: June 13, 2015
In this exploratory investigation, we examine changes associated with joining a nominal online group on longer-term behavior of lenders on the leading peer-to-peer microcredit site Kiva.org. Using a random sample of 5,000 Kiva lenders and exploiting a naturalistic field experimental manipulation (the introduction of the “lending teams” feature on Kiva), we analyzed the relationship of group membership with lending behaviors over a two year period. Our results reveal that lending team membership is positively associated with both the number of loans granted and the amount of money loaned whereas non-membership is associated with drop-offs in both behavioral measures. These results suggest that providing customers with the opportunity to join nominal online groups based on their existing affiliations (such as their alma mater, favorite sports team, nationality, etc.) may offer marketers with a relatively inexpensive, low-maintenance, and effective method of strengthening relationships with customers.
Keywords: Online community, financial decision making, minimal groups, microfinance, lending decisions, MCMC, Hierarchical Bayes
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