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Microcredit and the Poorest of the Poor: Theory and Evidence from Bolivia

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  • Navajas, Sergio
  • Schreiner, Mark
  • Meyer, Richard L.
  • Gonzalez-vega, Claudio
  • Rodriguez-meza, Jorge

Abstract

We construct a theoretical framework that puts the social worth of a microfinance organization (MFO) in terms of the depth, worth to users, cost to users, breadth, length, and scope of its output. We then analyze evidence of depth of outreach for five MFOs in Bolivia. Most of the poor households reached by the MFOs were near the poverty line- they were the richest of the poor. Group lenders had more depth of outreach than individual lenders. The urban poorest were more likely to be borrowers, but rural borrowers were more likely to be among the poorest.
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Suggested Citation

  • Navajas, Sergio & Schreiner, Mark & Meyer, Richard L. & Gonzalez-vega, Claudio & Rodriguez-meza, Jorge, 2000. "Microcredit and the Poorest of the Poor: Theory and Evidence from Bolivia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 333-346, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:28:y:2000:i:2:p:333-346
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. J. Behrman & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), 1995. "Handbook of Development Economics," Handbook of Development Economics, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 3, number 4.
    2. Gonzalez-Vega, Claudio & Schreiner, Mark & Meyer, Richard L. & Rodriguez-Meza, Jorge & Navajas, Sergio, 1996. "Bancosol: The Challenge Of Growth For Microfinance Organizations," Economics and Sociology Occasional Papers - ESO Series 28333, Ohio State University, Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics.
    3. J. D. Von Pischke & Dale W Adams, 1980. "Fungibility and the Design and Evaluation of Agricultural Credit Projects," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 62(4), pages 719-726.
    4. Gonzalez-Vega, Claudio & Meyer, Richard L. & Navajas, Sergio & Schreiner, Mark & Rodriguez-Meza, Jorge & Monje, Guillermo F., 1996. "Microfinance Market Niches And Client Profiles In Bolivia," Economics and Sociology Occasional Papers - ESO Series 28332, Ohio State University, Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics.
    5. Lipton, Michael & Ravallion, Martin, 1995. "Poverty and policy," Handbook of Development Economics, in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 41, pages 2551-2657, Elsevier.
    6. Morduch, Jonathan, 2000. "The Microfinance Schism," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 617-629, April.
    7. Yaron, Jacob, 1994. "What Makes Rural Finance Institutions Successful?," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 9(1), pages 49-70, January.
    8. repec:pri:rpdevs:morduch_microfinance_poor is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Hege Gulli, 1998. "Microfinance and Poverty: Questioning the Conventional Wisdom," IDB Publications (Books), Inter-American Development Bank, number 79506 edited by Nancy Morrison, February.
    10. J. Behrman & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), 1995. "Handbook of Development Economics," Handbook of Development Economics, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 3, number 3.
    11. Buckley, Graeme, 1997. "Microfinance in Africa: Is it either the problem or the solution?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 25(7), pages 1081-1093, July.
    12. Mosley, Paul & Hulme, David, 1998. "Microenterprise finance: Is there a conflict between growth and poverty alleviation?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 783-790, May.
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