IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Microfinance Mission Drift?


  • Mersland, Roy
  • Strøm, R. Øystein


Summary Claims have been made that microfinance institutions (MFIs) experience mission drift as they increasingly cater to customers who are better off than their original customers. We investigate mission drift using average loan size as a main proxy and the MFIs lending methodology, main market, and gender bias as further mission drift measures. We employ a large data set of rated, multi-country MFIs spanning 11 years, and perform panel data estimations with instruments. We find that the average loan size has not increased in the industry as a whole, nor is there a tendency toward more individual loans or a higher proportion of lending to urban costumers. Regressions show that an increase in average profit and average cost tends to increase average loan and the other drift measures. More focus should be given to cost efficiency in the MFI.

Suggested Citation

  • Mersland, Roy & Strøm, R. Øystein, 2010. "Microfinance Mission Drift?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 28-36, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:38:y:2010:i:1:p:28-36

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

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

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Paxton, Julia & Graham, Douglas & Thraen, Cameron, 2000. "Modeling Group Loan Repayment Behavior: New Insights from Burkina Faso," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 48(3), pages 639-655, April.
    2. Hansen, Lars Peter, 1982. "Large Sample Properties of Generalized Method of Moments Estimators," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 1029-1054, July.
    3. Deaton, Angus, 1995. "Data and econometric tools for development analysis," Handbook of Development Economics,in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 33, pages 1785-1882 Elsevier.
    4. Ghatak, Maitreesh & Guinnane, Timothy W., 1999. "The economics of lending with joint liability: theory and practice," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 195-228, October.
    5. Thorp, Rosemary & Stewart, Frances & Heyer, Amrik, 2005. "When and how far is group formation a route out of chronic poverty?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 33(6), pages 907-920, June.
    6. Mark Schreiner, 2002. "Aspects of outreach: a framework for discussion of the social benefits of microfinance," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(5), pages 591-603.
    7. Allen Berger & Leora Klapper & Rima Turk-Ariss, 2009. "Bank Competition and Financial Stability," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer;Western Finance Association, vol. 35(2), pages 99-118, April.
    8. Robert Cull & Asli Demirguç-Kunt & Jonathan Morduch, 2007. "Financial performance and outreach: a global analysis of leading microbanks," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(517), pages 107-133, February.
    9. Rajan, Raghuram G, 1992. " Insiders and Outsiders: The Choice between Informed and Arm's-Length Debt," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(4), pages 1367-1400, September.
    10. Sharpe, Steven A, 1990. " Asymmetric Information, Bank Lending, and Implicit Contracts: A Stylized Model of Customer Relationships," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 45(4), pages 1069-1087, September.
    11. Keeney,Ralph L. & Raiffa,Howard, 1993. "Decisions with Multiple Objectives," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521438834, March.
    12. Mersland, Roy, 2009. "The Cost of Ownership in Microfinance Organizations," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 469-478, February.
    13. Xavier Freixas & Jean-Charles Rochet, 2008. "Microeconomics of Banking, 2nd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 2, volume 1, number 0262062704, January.
    14. Brigit Helms, 2006. "Access for All : Building Inclusive Financial Systems," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6973.
    15. McIntosh, Craig & Wydick, Bruce, 2005. "Competition and microfinance," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(2), pages 271-298, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    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:eee:wdevel:v:38:y:2010:i:1:p:28-36. 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: (Dana Niculescu). 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.