“What has driven the expansion of the peer-to-peer lending”
by Prof. Olena Havrylchyk
University of Paris Panthéon-Sorbonne
Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms are online intermediaries that match lenders with borrowers. We use data from the two leading P2P lending platforms on the US consumer credit market, Prosper and Lending Club, to explore the main drivers of the expansion of demand for P2P credit. We exploit the heterogeneity in local credit markets at the county level to test three main hypotheses: 1) global financial crisis; 2) competition and barriers to entry; and 3) learning costs. We find that P2P lending platforms have partly substituted for banks in counties that were more affected by the financial crisis. High market concentration and high branch density appear to deter the entry and expansion of the P2P lending. Finally, we find a positive impact of variables that are correlated with lower learning costs, such as education, population density, high share of young population, as well as important spatial interactions.