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The Ethical Crisis in Microfinance: Issues, Findings, and Implications

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  • Hudon, Marek
  • Sandberg, Joakim

Abstract

Microfinance is often assumed to be an ethically progressive industry, but in recent years it has been the target of much ethical criticism. Microfinance institutions have been accused of using exploitative lending techniques and charging usurious interest rates; and critics even question the ability of microfinance to alleviate poverty. This article reviews recent research on the microfinance sector that addresses these ethical issues. We show how this research is relevant to a number of theoretical issues, such as how to define poverty, how to understand exploitation, and how to balance financial and social goals in commercial organizations. We conclude by identifying a critical agenda for future research.
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Suggested Citation

  • Hudon, Marek & Sandberg, Joakim, 2013. "The Ethical Crisis in Microfinance: Issues, Findings, and Implications," Business Ethics Quarterly, Cambridge University Press, vol. 23(04), pages 561-589, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:buetqu:v:23:y:2013:i:04:p:561-589_00
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    Cited by:

    1. Anastasia Cozarenco & Ariane Szafarz, 2013. "Women’s Access to Credit in France: How Microfinance Institutions Import Disparate Treatment from Banks," Working Papers CEB 13-037, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    2. D’Espallier, Bert & Goedecke, Jann & Hudon, Marek & Mersland, Roy, 2017. "From NGOs to Banks: Does Institutional Transformation Alter the Business Model of Microfinance Institutions?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 19-33.
    3. Périlleux, Anaïs & Szafarz, Ariane, 2015. "Women Leaders and Social Performance: Evidence from Financial Cooperatives in Senegal," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 437-452.
    4. Isabelle Guérin & Bert D'Espallier & G. Venkatasubramanian, 2015. "The Social Regulation of Markets: Why Microcredit Fails to Promote Jobs in Rural South India," Development and Change, International Institute of Social Studies, vol. 46(6), pages 1277-1301, November.
    5. Labie, Marc & Méon, Pierre-Guillaume & Mersland, Roy & Szafarz, Ariane, 2015. "Discrimination by microcredit officers: Theory and evidence on disability in Uganda," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 44-55.
    6. Simon Cornée & Marc Jegers & Ariane Szafarz, 2018. "A Theory of Social Finance," Economics Working Paper Archive (University of Rennes 1 & University of Caen) 2018-02, Center for Research in Economics and Management (CREM), University of Rennes 1, University of Caen and CNRS.
    7. Lauren Kleynjans & Marek Hudon, 2016. "A Study of Codes of Ethics for Mexican Microfinance Institutions," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 134(3), pages 397-412, March.
    8. repec:spr:soinre:v:133:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s11205-016-1368-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Onyeka K. Osuji & Ugochukwu L. Obibuaku, 2016. "Rights and Corporate Social Responsibility: Competing or Complementary Approaches to Poverty Reduction and Socioeconomic Rights?," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 136(2), pages 329-347, June.
    10. Bert D'Espallier & Marek Hudon & Ariane Szafarz, 2016. "Aid Volatility and Social Performance in Microfinance," Working Papers CEB 16-015, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    11. Anastasia Cozarenco & Ariane Szafarz, 2016. "Microcredit in Industrialized Countries: Unexpected Consequences of Regulatory Loan Ceilings," Working Papers CEB 16-021, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    12. repec:kap:jbuset:v:150:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s10551-016-3198-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. B. Mak Arvin & Byron Lew (ed.), 2015. "Handbook on the Economics of Foreign Aid," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 15762.

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