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Subsidy Uncertainty and Microfinance Mission Drift

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  • Beatriz Armendariz
  • Bert D'Espallier
  • Marek Hudon
  • Ariane Szafarz

Abstract

This paper shines light on subsidy-dependent microfinance institutions (MFIs). Firstly, our model shows that subsidy uncertainty can have pervasive effects on MFIs’ poverty-reduction mission. In particular, we argue that supply-driven uncertainty can lead to mission drift. MFIs maximize utility by serving the poor on the one hand, but must be financially sustainable on the other. Under the fear that subsidies can dry up, MFIs lend to wealthier clients in order to build precautionary savings. In a subsidy-uncertain world this is a rational reaction by MFIs struggling to preserve a pool of poor clients. We show that the incidence of mission drift increases with subsidy uncertainty. Secondly, we test the predictions of the model on original data collected from rating agencies assessment reports on 230 MFIs active in 60 countries over the period 1999-2006. Using both cross-section and panel-data regressions, we estimate the effect of subsidies on poverty reduction as proxied by average loan size, interest rates, and outreach. Our results suggest that more subsidies are associated with smaller loan sizes, but that higher subsidy uncertainty is positively correlated with higher interest rates. We also find that subsidy uncertainty is negatively correlated with outreach.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles in its series Working Papers CEB with number 11-014.

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Length: 43 p.
Date of creation: Apr 2011
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published by:
Handle: RePEc:sol:wpaper:2013/83742

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Keywords: microfinance; subsidies; mission drift; poverty reduction; average loan size; interest rate; outreach;

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References

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  1. Mersland, Roy & Strøm, R. Øystein, 2010. "Microfinance Mission Drift?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 28-36, January.
  2. Steven B. Caudill & Daniel M. Gropper & Valentina Hartarska, 2009. "Which Microfinance Institutions Are Becoming More Cost Effective with Time? Evidence from a Mixture Model," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 41(4), pages 651-672, 06.
  3. Morduch, Jonathan, 1999. "The role of subsidies in microfinance: evidence from the Grameen Bank," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 229-248, October.
  4. Ahmad Nawaz, 2010. "Efficiency and Productivity of Microfinance: Incorporating the Role of Subsidies," Working Papers CEB 10-009.RS, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  5. Mersland, Roy, 2009. "The Cost of Ownership in Microfinance Organizations," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 469-478, February.
  6. Beatriz Armendariz & Ariane Szafarz, 2009. "On Mission Drift In Microfinance Institutions," Working Papers CEB 09-015.RS, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  7. Zeller, Manfred & Meyer, Richard L., 2002. "The triangle of microfinance," Food policy statements 40, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  8. McIntosh, Craig & Wydick, Bruce, 2005. "Competition and microfinance," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(2), pages 271-298, December.
  9. Broze, Laurence & Gourieroux Christian & Szafarz A, 1984. "Solutions of dynamic linear rational expectations models," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Couverture Orange) 8421, CEPREMAP.
  10. Copestake, James, 2007. "Mainstreaming Microfinance: Social Performance Management or Mission Drift?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 35(10), pages 1721-1738, October.
  11. Isabelle Agier & Ariane Szafarz, 2010. "Microfinance and Gender: Is There a Glass Ceiling in Loan Size?," Working Papers CEB 10-047, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  12. Conning, Jonathan, 1999. "Outreach, sustainability and leverage in monitored and peer-monitored lending," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 51-77, October.
  13. Broze, L. & Gourieroux, C. & Szafarz, A., 1985. "Solutions of Linear Rational Expectations Models," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(03), pages 341-368, December.
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Cited by:
  1. Mariya Pylypiv & Sugato Chakravarty, 2013. "The Role of Subsidization and Organizational Status on Borrower Repayment Rates in Microfinance Institutions," Working Papers 1018, Purdue University, Department of Consumer Sciences.
  2. Bert D'Espallier & Marek Hudon & Ariane Szafarz, 2013. "Unsubsidized Microfinance Institutions," Working Papers CEB 13-012, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  3. Dlamini, Menzie S., 2012. "The effect of subsidies on the performance and sustainability of microfinance institutions in sub-Saharan Africa," Research Theses 134487, Collaborative Masters Program in Agricultural and Applied Economics.
  4. Renaud Bourlès & Anastasia Cozarenco, 2013. "State intervention and the (micro)credit market in developed countries: loan guarantee and business development services," Working Papers CEB 13-019, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.

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