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About: Microfinance is a(n) research topic. Over the lifetime, 11375 publication(s) have been published within this topic receiving 169239 citation(s).

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Abstract: In the past decade, microfinance programs have demonstrated that it is possible to lend to low-income households while maintaining high repayment rates--even without requiring collateral. The programs promise a revolution in approaches to alleviating poverty and spreading financial services, and millions of poor households are served globally. A growing body of economic theory demonstrates how new contractual forms offer a key to microfinance success--particularly the use of group-lending contracts with joint liability. For the most part, however, high repayment rates have not translated into profits, and studies of impacts on poverty yield a mixed picture. In describing emerging tensions, the paper highlights the diversity of innovative mechanisms beyond group-lending contracts, the measurement of financial sustainability, the estimation of economic and social impacts, the costs and benefits of subsidization, and the potential to reduce poverty through savings programs rather than just credit. The promise of microfinance has pushed far ahead of the evidence, and an agenda is put forward for addressing critical empirical gaps and sharpening the terms of policy discussion.

2,325 citations

01 Jan 2005
Abstract: The microfinance revolution, begun with independent initiatives in Latin America and South Asia starting in the 1970s, has so far allowed 65 million poor people around the world to receive small loans without collateral, build up assets, and buy insurance. This comprehensive survey of microfinance seeks to bridge the gap in the existing literature on microfinance between academic economists and practitioners. Both authors have pursued the subject not only in academia but in the field; Beatriz Armendariz founded a microfinance bank in Chiapas, Mexico, and Jonathan Morduch has done fieldwork in Bangladesh, China, and Indonesia. The authors move beyond the usual theoretical focus in the microfinance literature and draw on new developments in theories of contracts and incentives. They challenge conventional assumptions about how poor households save and build assets and how institutions can overcome market failures. The book provides an overview of microfinance by addressing a range of issues, including lessons from informal markets, savings and insurance, the role of women, the place of subsidies, impact measurement, and management incentives. It integrates theory with empirical data, citing studies from Asia, Africa, and Latin America and introducing ideas about asymmetric information, principal-agent theory, and household decision making in the context of microfinance. The Economics of Microfinance can be used by students in economics, public policy, and development studies. Mathematical notation is used to clarify some arguments, but the main points can be grasped without the math. Each chapter ends with analytically challenging exercises for advanced economics students.

1,624 citations

Posted Content
Abstract: Micro-finance supports mainly informal activities that often have low market demand. It may be thus hypothesized that the aggregate poverty impact of micro-finance in an economy with low economic growth is modest or nonexistent. The observed borrower-level poverty impact is then a result of income redistribution or short-run income generation. The author addresses these questions using household level panel data from Bangladesh. The findings confirm that micro-finance benefits the poorest and has sustained impact in reducing poverty among program participants. It also has positive spillover impact, reducing poverty at the village level. But the effect is more pronounced in reducing extreme rather than moderate poverty.

1,154 citations

31 May 2001

1,129 citations

Journal ArticleDOI

896 citations

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