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Microfinance as a Poverty Reduction Tool—A Critical Assessment

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  • Anis Chowdhury
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    Abstract

    This paper attempts to provide a critical appraisal of the debate on the effectiveness of microfinance as a universal poverty reduction tool. It argues that while microfinance has developed some innovative management and business strategies, its impact on poverty reduction remains in doubt. Microfinance, however, certainly plays an important role in providing safety-net and consumption smoothening. The borrowers of microfinance possibly also benefit from learning-by-doing and from self-esteem. However, for any significant dent on poverty, the focus of public policy should be on growth-oriented and equity-enhancing programs, such as broad-based productive employment creation.

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    File URL: http://www.un.org/esa/desa/papers/2009/wp89_2009.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by United Nations, Department of Economics and Social Affairs in its series Working Papers with number 89.

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    Length: 15 pages
    Date of creation: Dec 2009
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:une:wpaper:89

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    Related research

    Keywords: microfinance; poverty; employment; growth;

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    1. Rahman, Aminur, 1999. "Micro-credit initiatives for equitable and sustainable development: Who pays?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 67-82, January.
    2. Morduch, Jonathan, 2000. "The Microfinance Schism," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 617-629, April.
    3. Jonathan Zinman & Dean Karlan, 2009. "Expanding Microenterprise Credit Access: Using Randomized Supply Decisions to Estimate the Impacts in Manila," Working Papers 976, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
    4. Shahidur R. Khandker, 2005. "Microfinance and Poverty: Evidence Using Panel Data from Bangladesh," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 19(2), pages 263-286.
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    Cited by:
    1. Kent, Derin & Dacin, M. Tina, 2013. "Bankers at the gate: Microfinance and the high cost of borrowed logics," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 28(6), pages 759-773.
    2. Winkler, Adalbert & Wagner, Charlotte, 2013. "Growth patterns of microfinance clients - Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79945, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

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