Dangers of a Double-Bottom Line: A Poverty Targeting Experiment Misses Both Targets

20 Pages Posted: 12 Mar 2018

See all articles by Dean Karlan

Dean Karlan

Northwestern University

Adam Osman

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Jonathan Zinman

Dartmouth College; Innovations for Poverty Action; Jameel Poverty Action Lab; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: March 2018

Abstract

Two for-profit Philippine social enterprises, aiming to demonstrate corporate social responsibility by increasing microlending to the poor, incorporated a widely-used poverty measurement tool into their loan applications and tested the tool using randomized training content. Treated loan officers were instructed why and how to use the tool for targeting; control group training merely labelled the tool “additional household information”. The targeting training backfired, leading to no additional poor applicants and lower-performing loans. Descriptive evidence suggests the targeting training exacerbated loan officer misperceptions and multitasking problems. Our results help explain why corporate social responsibility efforts are often siloed from core operations.

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Suggested Citation

Karlan, Dean and Osman, Adam and Zinman, Jonathan, Dangers of a Double-Bottom Line: A Poverty Targeting Experiment Misses Both Targets (March 2018). NBER Working Paper No. w24379. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3138313

Dean Karlan (Contact Author)

Northwestern University

2001 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

Adam Osman

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ( email )

601 E John St
Champaign, IL 61820
United States

Jonathan Zinman

Dartmouth College ( email )

Hanover, NH 03755
United States
603-646-0075 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.dartmouth.edu/jzinman/

Innovations for Poverty Action

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Jameel Poverty Action Lab

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77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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United States

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