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Great Expectations: Microfinance and Poverty Reduction in Asia and Latin America

  • John Weiss
  • Heather Montgomery

Microfinance institutions (MFIs) are often seen by aid practitioners as a manifestly effective means of improving the position of the poor. Despite this widely held view, detailed research studies have been much more guarded about the impact of MFIs. In particular, several studies have raised doubts about the effectiveness of MFIs in reaching the “core poor”. This paper surveys the evidence from Asia and Latin America and contrasts experiences in the two regions. Studies on the former have been carried out more “rigorously”, but in both regions the evidence that microfinance is reaching the core poor is very limited.

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Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Oxford Development Studies.

Volume (Year): 33 (2005)
Issue (Month): 3-4 ()
Pages: 391-416

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Handle: RePEc:taf:oxdevs:v:33:y:2005:i:3-4:p:391-416
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  1. Mark Schreiner, 2001. "A Cost-Effectiveness Analysis of the Grameen Bank of Bangladesh," Development and Comp Systems 0109007, EconWPA.
  2. 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.
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  7. Amin, Sajeda & Rai, Ashok S. & Topa, Giorgio, 2003. "Does microcredit reach the poor and vulnerable? Evidence from northern Bangladesh," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 59-82, February.
  8. Lapenu, Cécile & Zeller, Manfred, 2001. "Distribution, growth, and performance of microfinance institutions in Africa, Asia, and Latin America," FCND briefs 114, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  9. 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.
  10. Coleman, Brett E., 1999. "The impact of group lending in Northeast Thailand," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 105-141, October.
  11. Joseph P. Kaboski & Robert M. Townsend, 2005. "Policies and Impact: An Analysis of Village-Level Microfinance Institutions," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(1), pages 1-50, 03.
  12. Mark M. Pitt & Shahidur R. Khandker & Omar Haider Chowdhury & Daniel L. Millimet, 1998. "Credit Programs for the Poor and the Nutritional Status of Children in Rural Bangladesh," Working Papers 98-4, Brown University, Department of Economics, revised 16 Jan 1998.
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