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Can micro-credit bring development?

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  • Ahlin, Christian
  • Jiang, Neville

Abstract

We examine the long-run effects of micro-credit on development in an occupational choice model similar to Banerjee and Newman (JPE, 1993). Micro-credit is modeled as a pure improvement in the credit market that opens up self-employment options to some agents who otherwise could only work for wages or subsist. Micro-credit can either raise or lower long-run GDP, since it can lower use of both subsistence and full-scale industrial technologies. It typically lowers long-run inequality and poverty, by making subsistence payoffs less widespread. Thus, an equity-efficiency tradeoff may be involved in the promotion of micro-credit. However, in a worst case scenario, micro-credit has purely negative long-run effects. The key to micro-credit's long-run effects is found to be the "graduation rate", defined as the rate at which the self-employed build up enough wealth to start full-scale firms. We distinguish between two avenues for graduation: "winner" graduation (of those who earn above-average returns in self-employment) and "saver" graduation (due to gradual accumulation of average returns in self-employment). Long-run development is not attainable via micro-credit if "winner" graduation is the sole avenue for graduation. In contrast, if the saving rate and self-employment returns of the average micro-borrower are jointly high enough, then micro-credit can bring an economy from stagnation to full development through "saver" graduation. Thus the lasting effects of micro-credit may partially depend on simultaneous facilitation of micro-saving. Eventual graduation of the average borrower, rather than indefinite retention, should be the goal of micro-banks if micro-credit is to be a stepping stone to broad-based development rather than at best an anti-poverty tool.

Suggested Citation

  • Ahlin, Christian & Jiang, Neville, 2008. "Can micro-credit bring development?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(1), pages 1-21, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:86:y:2008:i:1:p:1-21
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Dean Karlan & Margaret McConnell & Sendhil Mullainathan & Jonathan Zinman, 2016. "Getting to the Top of Mind: How Reminders Increase Saving," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 62(12), pages 3393-3411, December.
    2. Asadul Islam, 2011. "Medium- and Long-Term Participation in Microcredit: An Evaluation Using a New Panel Dataset from Bangladesh," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 93(3), pages 843-862.
    3. Hisako, KAI & Shigeyuki, HAMORI, 2009. "Microfinance and Inequality," MPRA Paper 17537, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Ojo, Marianne, 2013. "Role of regulation in micro finance: jurisdictional analysis," MPRA Paper 49927, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. repec:unu:wpaper:wp2012-78 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Swamy, Vighneswara & B K, Tulasimala, 2013. "Women Financing and Household Economics," MPRA Paper 50351, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. de Quidt, Jonathan & Fetzer, Thiemo & Ghatak, Maitreesh, 2016. "Group lending without joint liability," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, pages 217-236.
    8. Mihir Dash & Shyam Lal Dev Pandey, 2016. "Efficiency Measurement for MFIs in India Using the Control-Efficiency Model," Journal of Applied Management and Investments, Department of Business Administration and Corporate Security, International Humanitarian University, vol. 5(3), pages 156-161, August.
    9. Awaworyi Churchill, Sefa & Korankye Danso, Jeffrey & Nyatefe, Elikem, 2015. "Microfinance Institution Performance: Does the Macro-economy matter?," EconStor Preprints 123724, ZBW - German National Library of Economics.
    10. Raihan, Selim & Osmani, S.R. & Khalily, M.A. Baqui, 2017. "The macro impact of microfinance in Bangladesh: A CGE analysis," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 1-15.
    11. Dalla Pellegrina, Lucia, 2011. "Microfinance and Investment: A Comparison with Bank and Informal Lending," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(6), pages 882-897, June.
    12. Pierrick Baraton & Florian Léon, 2016. "Financial Constraint, Entrepreneurship and Sectoral Migrations ," CREA Discussion Paper Series 16-09, Center for Research in Economic Analysis, University of Luxembourg.
    13. Yusupov, Nurmukhammad, 2012. "Microcredit and development in an occupational choice model," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 117(3), pages 820-823.
    14. Ahlin, Christian & Lin, Jocelyn & Maio, Michael, 2011. "Where does microfinance flourish? Microfinance institution performance in macroeconomic context," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(2), pages 105-120, July.
    15. Swain, Ranjula Bali & Varghese, Adel, 2009. "Does Self Help Group Participation Lead to Asset Creation?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(10), pages 1674-1682, October.
    16. repec:cep:stieop:44 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Koen Rossel-Cambier, 2012. "Can Combined Microfinance Boost Economic Results? An Empirical Cross-sectional Analysis," Review of Economics & Finance, Better Advances Press, Canada, vol. 2, pages 79-94, August.
    18. Marianne, Roedl, 2013. "Role of regulation and micro finance in Africa, Asia and Latin America," MPRA Paper 51177, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    19. Mukhopadhyay, Jyoti Prasad, 2014. "Does access to microfinance affect consumption inequality? :evidence from a randomized controlled trial in Andhra Pradesh, India," MPRA Paper 58674, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    20. Deininger, Klaus & Liu, Yanyan, 2009. "Longer-term economic impacts of self-help groups in india," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4886, The World Bank.
    21. repec:eee:quaeco:v:64:y:2017:i:c:p:44-56 is not listed on IDEAS
    22. Quibria, M. G., 2012. "Microcredit and Poverty Alleviation: Can Microcredit Close the Deal?," WIDER Working Paper Series 078, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    23. Martijn Boermans & Daan Willebrands, 2012. "Financial constraints, risk taking and firm performance: Recent evidence from microfinance clients in Tanzania," DNB Working Papers 358, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.

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