IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Membership has its privileges: the effect of social capital and neighbourhood characteristics on the earnings of microfinance borrowers


  • Rafael Gomez
  • Eric Santor


In this paper we examine the determinants of self-employment success for microcredit borrowers. Theories of social capital and neighbourhood effects are integrated in an attempt to account for earnings differentials among a unique sample of microfinance borrowers. We posit that social capital - social relations that facilitate individual action - is essential for microentrepreneurial success. Based on a survey and data collected by the authors, it is demonstrated that social capital is a positive determinant of self-employment earnings. The role that neighbourhoods play in fostering social capital and improving microentrepreneurial performance are also highlighted.

Suggested Citation

  • Rafael Gomez & Eric Santor, 2001. "Membership has its privileges: the effect of social capital and neighbourhood characteristics on the earnings of microfinance borrowers," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 34(4), pages 943-966, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:cje:issued:v:34:y:2001:i:4:p:943-966

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: Full text
    Download Restriction: Available to subscribers only. Alternative access through JSTOR and Ingenta.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Harry J. Holzer, 1987. "Hiring Procedures in the Firm: Their Economic Determinants and Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 2185, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. William A. Darity & Arthur H. Goldsmith, 1996. "Social Psychology, Unemployment and Macroeconomics," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 121-140, Winter.
    3. La Porta, Rafael, et al, 1997. "Trust in Large Organizations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 333-338, May.
    4. John M. Quigley, 1998. "Urban Diversity and Economic Growth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 127-138, Spring.
    5. John F. Helliwell, 1996. "Do Borders Matter for Social Capital? Economic Growth and Civic Culture in U.S. States and Canadian Provinces," NBER Working Papers 5863, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Benabou, R., 1992. "Heterogeneity, Stratification, and Growth," Working papers 93-4, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    7. Edward L. Glaeser & David Laibson & Bruce Sacerdote, 2000. "The Economic Approach to Social Capital," NBER Working Papers 7728, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Oded Galor & Joseph Zeira, 1993. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(1), pages 35-52.
    9. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, "undated". "The Productivity of Nations," Working Papers 96012, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
    10. Ihlanfeldt, Keith R., 1997. "Information on the Spatial Distribution of Job Opportunities within Metropolitan Areas," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 218-242, March.
    11. Mark M. Pitt & Shahidur R. Khandker, 1998. "The Impact of Group-Based Credit Programs on Poor Households in Bangladesh: Does the Gender of Participants Matter?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(5), pages 958-996, October.
    12. Glaeser, Edward L. & Scheinkman, JoseA. & Shleifer, Andrei, 1995. "Economic growth in a cross-section of cities," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 117-143, August.
    13. George J. Borjas, 1992. "Ethnic Capital and Intergenerational Mobility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(1), pages 123-150.
    14. Maluccio, John A. & Haddad, Lawrence James & May, Julian, 1999. "Social capital and income generation in South Africa, 1993-98," FCND discussion papers 71, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    15. Evans, David S & Leighton, Linda S, 1989. "Some Empirical Aspects of Entrepreneurship," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(3), pages 519-535, June.
    16. Davidson, Russell & MacKinnon, James G., 1993. "Estimation and Inference in Econometrics," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195060119, June.
    17. DiPasquale, Denise & Glaeser, Edward L., 1999. "Incentives and Social Capital: Are Homeowners Better Citizens?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 354-384, March.
    18. Mary Corcoran & Roger H. Gordon & Deborah Laren & Gary Solon, 1989. "Effects of Family and Community Background on Men's Economic Status," NBER Working Papers 2896, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Campolieti , Michele & Gomez, Rafael & Gunderson, Morley, 2009. "Volunteering, Income Support Programs and Disabled Persons," CLSSRN working papers clsrn_admin-2009-16, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 16 Feb 2009.
    2. Jonathan Lashley & Karen Lord, 2002. "Microcredit in the Caribbean: Experiences & Best Practices," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 2812, Inter-American Development Bank.
    3. Togba, Edith Leadaut, 2012. "Microfinance and households access to credit: Evidence from Côte d’Ivoire," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 473-486.
    4. Casson, Mark C. & Della Giusta, Marina & Kambhampati, Uma S., 2010. "Formal and Informal Institutions and Development," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 137-141, February.
    5. Rafael Gomez & Eric Santor, 2003. "Do Peer Group Members Outperform Individual Borrowers? A Test of Peer Group Lending Using Canadian Micro-Credit Data," Staff Working Papers 03-33, Bank of Canada.
    6. Skriabikova, Olga J. & Dohmen, Thomas & Kriechel, Ben, 2014. "New evidence on the relationship between risk attitudes and self-employment," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 176-184.
    7. Y Georgellis & J G Sessions & N Tsitsianis, 2005. "Self-Employment Longitudinal Dynamics: A Review of the Literature," Economic Issues Journal Articles, Economic Issues, vol. 10(2), pages 51-84, September.
    8. Aggarwal, Raj & Goodell, John, 2013. "Lending to women in microfinance: influence of social trust and national culture Lending to women in microfinance: influence of social trust and national culture," Working Paper 1317, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
    9. Mutaleb, Md Z. & Baharanyi, Ntam R. & Tackie, Nii O. & Zabawa, Robert, 2014. "An Assessment Of Microlending Programs In The Alabama Black Belt Region," Professional Agricultural Workers Journal (PAWJ), Professional Agricultural Workers Conference, vol. 2(2).
    10. James C. Brau & Gary M. Woller, 2004. "Microfinance: A Comprehensive Review of the Existing Literature," Journal of Entrepreneurial Finance, Pepperdine University, Graziadio School of Business and Management, vol. 9(1), pages 1-28, Spring.
    11. Eiji Yamamura, 2015. "Norm for redistribution, social capital, and perceived tax burden: comparison between highand low-income households," Review of Economics and Institutions, Università di Perugia, vol. 6(2).
    12. repec:rss:jnljee:v4i3p1 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Milanov, Hana & Justo, Rachida & Bradley, Steven W., 2015. "Making the most of group relationships: The role of gender and boundary effects in microcredit groups," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 822-838.
    14. Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Klapper, Leora F. & Panos, Georgios A., 2009. "Entrepreneurship in post-conflict transition : the role of informality and access to finance," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4935, The World Bank.
    15. Stuart, Guy, 2006. "Caste Embeddedness and Microfinance: Savings and Credit Cooperatives in Andhra Pradesh, India," Working Paper Series rwp06-037, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    16. Ciarli, Tommaso & Parto, Saeed & Savona, Maria, 2010. "Conflict and Entrepreneurial Activity in Afghanistan: Findings from the National Risk Vulnerability Assessment Data," WIDER Working Paper Series 008, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    17. Kangogo, Daniel & Lagat, Job & Ithinji, Gicuru, 2013. "The Influence of Social Capital Dimensions on Household Participation in Micro-Credit Groups and Loan Repayment Performance in Uasin Gishu County, Kenya," MPRA Paper 48624, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    18. Román, Concepción & Congregado, Emilio & Millán, José María, 2013. "Start-up incentives: Entrepreneurship policy or active labour market programme?," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 151-175.
    19. Jonathan Lashley & Karen Lord, 2002. "Microcredit in the Caribbean: Experiences & Best Practices," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 23738, Inter-American Development Bank.
    20. Marina Della Giusta, 2010. "Social Capital and Economic Development," Economics & Management Discussion Papers em-dp2010-02, Henley Business School, Reading University.
    21. Jean-François Maystadt, 2004. "Microfinance au Nord : Un effet de mode importé du Sud ?," Mondes en développement, De Boeck Université, vol. 126(2), pages 69-82.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cje:issued:v:34:y:2001:i:4:p:943-966. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Prof. Werner Antweiler). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.