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Microfinance and Poverty: Evidence Using Panel Data from Bangladesh

  • Shahidur R. Khandker

Microfinance supports mainly informal activities that often have a low return and low market demand. It may therefore be hypothesized that the aggregate poverty impact of microfinance is modest or even nonexistent. If true, the poverty impact of microfinance observed at the participant level represents either income redistribution or short-run income generation from the microfinance intervention. This article examines the effects of microfinance on poverty reduction at both the participant and the aggregate levels using panel data from Bangladesh. The results suggest that access to microfinance contributes to poverty reduction, especially for female participants, and to overall poverty reduction at the village level. Microfinance thus helps not only poor participants but also the local economy. Copyright 2005, Oxford University Press.

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Article provided by World Bank Group in its journal The World Bank Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 19 (2005)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 263-286

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Handle: RePEc:oup:wbecrv:v:19:y:2005:i:2:p:263-286
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  1. LaLonde, Robert J, 1986. "Evaluating the Econometric Evaluations of Training Programs with Experimental Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 604-20, September.
  2. Hossain, Mahabub, 1988. "Credit for alleviation of rural poverty: the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh," Research reports 65, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  3. Yaron, Jacob, 1994. "What Makes Rural Finance Institutions Successful?," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 9(1), pages 49-70, January.
  4. Adams, Dale W & Von Pischke, J. D., 1992. "Microenterprise credit programs: Deja vu," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 20(10), pages 1463-1470, October.
  5. Hashemi, Syed M. & Schuler, Sidney Ruth & Riley, Ann P., 1996. "Rural credit programs and women's empowerment in Bangladesh," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 635-653, April.
  6. Coleman, Brett E., 1999. "The impact of group lending in Northeast Thailand," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 105-141, October.
  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. Ravallion, Martin & Sen, Binayak, 1994. "When method matters : toward a resolution of the debate about Bangladesh's poverty measures," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1359, The World Bank.
  9. Morduch, Jonathan, 1999. "The role of subsidies in microfinance: evidence from the Grameen Bank," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 229-248, October.
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