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The Miracle of Microfinance? Evidence from a Randomized Evaluation

Author

Listed:
  • Abhijit Banerjee
  • Esther Duflo
  • Rachel Glennerster
  • Cynthia Kinnan

Abstract

This paper reports results from the randomized evaluation of a group-lending microcredit program in Hyderabad, India. A lender worked in 52 randomly selected neighborhoods, leading to an 8.4 percentage point increase in takeup of microcredit. Small business investment and profits of preexisting businesses increased, but consumption did not significantly increase. Durable goods expenditure increased, while "temptation goods" expenditure declined. We found no significant changes in health, education, or women's empowerment. Two years later, after control areas had gained access to microcredit but households in treatment area had borrowed for longer and in larger amounts, very few significant differences persist. (JEL G21, G31, O16, O12, L25, I38)

Suggested Citation

  • Abhijit Banerjee & Esther Duflo & Rachel Glennerster & Cynthia Kinnan, 2015. "The Miracle of Microfinance? Evidence from a Randomized Evaluation," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(1), pages 22-53, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:7:y:2015:i:1:p:22-53 Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.20130533
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gine, Xavier & Townsend, Robert M., 2004. "Evaluation of financial liberalization: a general equilibrium model with constrained occupation choice," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, pages 269-307.
    2. Robert M. Townsend & Joseph P. Kaboski, 2009. "A Structural Evaluation of a Large-Scale Quasi-Experimental Microfinance Initiative," 2009 Meeting Papers 717, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G31 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Capital Budgeting; Fixed Investment and Inventory Studies
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • L25 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Performance
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O16 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance

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