Microfinance and Home Improvement: Using Retrospective Panel Data to Measure Program Effects on Fundamental Events
Summary Rigorously estimating the effects of development programs is notoriously difficult. We present a methodology that borrows from "event studies" commonly used in the finance literature. In our RETRAFECT methodology, a retrospective panel dataset is created based on "fundamental" events in the history of surveyed households, events that are discrete, unforgettable, and important to welfare. We apply this methodology to examine home improvements among 1,672 households in Guatemala, India, and Ghana. Using village and country/year-level fixed effects, we find the probability of a major housing improvement increases from 0.038 to 0.070 in the years subsequent to a first microfinance loan.
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