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Does microcredit reach the poor and vulnerable? Evidence from northern Bangladesh

  • Amin, Sajeda
  • Rai, Ashok S.
  • Topa, Giorgio

The Grameen Bank's success in Bangladesh has made microcredit the hot new idea for reducing poverty. This paper uses panel data from two Bangladeshi villages to test if loan recipients are poorer and more vulnerable than non-recipients. Poverty is measured by levels of consumption. Vulnerablitiy is measured as fluctuations in consumption (associated with inefficient risk sharing). We find that loan recipients are poorer than non-recipients in both villages, but are more vulnerable than non-recipients only in the richer and more diversified village. Though microcredit programs target the landless, there is substantial leakage to the landed. Landlessness is not significangly associated with either poverty or vulnerablitiy, but female headship is. Female headed households may be a more appropriate target group for anti-poverty credit programs.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Development Economics.

Volume (Year): 70 (2003)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 59-82

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Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:70:y:2003:i:1:p:59-82
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  1. Robert M. Townsend, . "Risk and Insurance in Village India," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 91-3a, Chicago - Population Research Center.
  2. Navajas, Sergio & Schreiner, Mark & Meyer, Richard L. & Gonzalez-Vega, Claudio & Rodriguez-Meza, Jorge, 1998. "Microcredit And The Poorest Of The Poor: Theory And Evidence From Bolivia," Economics and Sociology Occasional Papers 28334, Ohio State University, Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics.
  3. Jalan, Jyotsna & Ravallion, Martin, 1997. "Are the poor less well-insured? Evidence on vulnerability to income risk in rural China," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1863, The World Bank.
  4. Anderson, Gordon, 1996. "Nonparametric Tests of Stochastic Dominance in Income Distributions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(5), pages 1183-93, September.
  5. Jonathan Morduch, 1999. "The Microfinance Promise," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(4), pages 1569-1614, December.
  6. Quentin Wodon, 1997. "Food energy intake and cost of basic needs: Measuring poverty in Bangladesh," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(2), pages 66-101.
  7. 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.
  8. Martin Ravallion & Gaurav Datt, 1995. "Is Targeting Through a Work Requirement Efficient? Some Evidence for Rural India," Monash Economics Working Papers archive-41, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  9. Jonathan Morduch, 1998. "Does Microfinance Really Help the Poor? New Evidence from Flagship Programs in Bangladesh," Working Papers 198, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies..
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