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Can micro-credit bring development?

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  • Ahlin, Christian
  • Jiang, Neville
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    Abstract

    We examine the long-run effects of micro-credit on development in an occupational choice model similar to Banerjee and Newman (JPE, 1993). Micro-credit is modeled as a pure improvement in the credit market that opens up self-employment options to some agents who otherwise could only work for wages or subsist. Micro-credit can either raise or lower long-run GDP, since it can lower use of both subsistence and full-scale industrial technologies. It typically lowers long-run inequality and poverty, by making subsistence payoffs less widespread. Thus, an equity-efficiency tradeoff may be involved in the promotion of micro-credit. However, in a worst case scenario, micro-credit has purely negative long-run effects. The key to micro-credit's long-run effects is found to be the "graduation rate", defined as the rate at which the self-employed build up enough wealth to start full-scale firms. We distinguish between two avenues for graduation: "winner" graduation (of those who earn above-average returns in self-employment) and "saver" graduation (due to gradual accumulation of average returns in self-employment). Long-run development is not attainable via micro-credit if "winner" graduation is the sole avenue for graduation. In contrast, if the saving rate and self-employment returns of the average micro-borrower are jointly high enough, then micro-credit can bring an economy from stagnation to full development through "saver" graduation. Thus the lasting effects of micro-credit may partially depend on simultaneous facilitation of micro-saving. Eventual graduation of the average borrower, rather than indefinite retention, should be the goal of micro-banks if micro-credit is to be a stepping stone to broad-based development rather than at best an anti-poverty tool.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Development Economics.

    Volume (Year): 86 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 1 (April)
    Pages: 1-21

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:86:y:2008:i:1:p:1-21

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/devec

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    References

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    Cited by:
    1. Yusupov, Nurmukhammad, 2012. "Microcredit and development in an occupational choice model," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 117(3), pages 820-823.
    2. Martijn Boermans & Daan Willebrands, 2012. "Financial constraints, risk taking and firm performance: Recent evidence from microfinance clients in Tanzania," DNB Working Papers 358, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
    3. Christian Ahlin, 2010. "Matching for Credit: Risk and Diversification in Thai Microcredit Groups," Working Papers id:2588, eSocialSciences.
    4. Dalla Pellegrina, Lucia, 2011. "Microfinance and Investment: A Comparison with Bank and Informal Lending," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(6), pages 882-897, June.
    5. Ojo, Marianne, 2013. "Role of regulation in micro finance: jurisdictional analysis," MPRA Paper 49927, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Asadul Islam, 2011. "Medium- and Long-Term Participation in Microcredit: An Evaluation Using a New Panel Dataset from Bangladesh," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 93(3), pages 843-862.
    7. Koen Rossel-Cambier, 2012. "Can Combined Microfinance Boost Economic Results? An Empirical Cross-sectional Analysis," Review of Economics & Finance, Better Advances Press, Canada, vol. 2, pages 79-94, August.
    8. Quibria, M.G., 2012. "Microcredit and Poverty Alleviation: Can microcredit close the deal?," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    9. Swain, Ranjula Bali & Varghese, Adel, 2009. "Does Self Help Group Participation Lead to Asset Creation?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(10), pages 1674-1682, October.
    10. Marianne, Roedl, 2013. "Role of regulation and micro finance in Africa, Asia and Latin America," MPRA Paper 51177, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Ahlin, Christian & Lin, Jocelyn & Maio, Michael, 2011. "Where does microfinance flourish? Microfinance institution performance in macroeconomic context," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(2), pages 105-120, July.
    12. Hisako, KAI & Shigeyuki, HAMORI, 2009. "Microfinance and Inequality," MPRA Paper 17537, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. Thiemo Fetzer & Maitreesh Ghatak & Jonathan de Quidt, 2013. "Group Lending Without Joint Liability," STICERD - Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers Series 44, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
    14. Deininger, Klaus & Liu, Yanyan, 2009. "Longer-term economic impacts of self-help groups in india," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4886, The World Bank.

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