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Estimating Treatment Effects from Spatial Policy Experiments: An Application to Ugandan Microfinance


  • Craig McIntosh

    (International Relations/Pacific Studies, U.C. San Diego)


This paper demonstrates a method for estimating treatment effects in spatial tests, utilizing a second control group to measure unexplained spatial phenomena. The technique is implemented on two innovations in Ugandan microfinance, and we measure the ways in which concurrent shocks such as an Ebola outbreak and a contentious presidential election altered outcomes differentially across regions. By correcting for this spatial heterogeneity, we measure the impact of the policies; a program that increased borrowers' control over the terms of their loans improved outcomes, while the results of a program that bundled health insurance into the lending contract were more mixed. Copyright by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Suggested Citation

  • Craig McIntosh, 2008. "Estimating Treatment Effects from Spatial Policy Experiments: An Application to Ugandan Microfinance," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(1), pages 15-28, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:90:y:2008:i:1:p:15-28

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    Cited by:

    1. Carolina Laureti & Alain De Janvry & Elisabeth Sadoulet, 2017. "Flexible Microfinance Products for Financial Management by the Poor: Evidence from SafeSave," Working Papers CEB 17-036, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    2. Karlan, Dean & Morduch, Jonathan, 2010. "Access to Finance," Handbook of Development Economics, Elsevier.
    3. Leonardo Becchetti & Stefano Castriota & Pierluigi Conzo, 2012. "Bank strategies in catastrophe settings: empirical evidence and policy suggestions," Econometica Working Papers wp43, Econometica.
    4. Erica Field & Rohini Pande & John Papp & Natalia Rigol, 2013. "Does the Classic Microfinance Model Discourage Entrepreneurship among the Poor? Experimental Evidence from India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(6), pages 2196-2226, October.
    5. Komarek, Adam M., 0. "Crop diversification decisions: the case of vanilla in Uganda," Quarterly Journal of International Agriculture, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, vol. 49.
    6. Clarke, Damian, 2017. "Estimating Difference-in-Differences in the Presence of Spillovers," MPRA Paper 81604, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Namizata Binaté Fofana & Gerrit Antonides & Anke Niehof & Johan Ophem, 2015. "How microfinance empowers women in Côte d’Ivoire," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 13(4), pages 1023-1041, December.
    8. Fischer, Greg & Ghatak, Maitreesh, 2010. "Repayment frequency in microfinance contracts with present-biased borrowers," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 58184, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    9. repec:eee:jeborg:v:142:y:2017:i:c:p:425-450 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Dalla Pellegrina, Lucia, 2011. "Microfinance and Investment: A Comparison with Bank and Informal Lending," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(6), pages 882-897, June.
    11. Marc Labie & Carolina Laureti & Ariane Szafarz, 2016. "Discipline and Flexibility: A Behavioral Perspective on Product Design in Microfinance," Working Papers CEB 15-020, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    12. Marc Labie & Carolina Laureti & Ariane Szafarz, 2013. "Flexible Products in Microfinance: Overcoming the Demand-Supply Mismatch," Working Papers CEB 13-044, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    13. Suresh de Mel & Craig McIntosh & Christopher Woodruff, 2013. "Deposit Collecting: Unbundling the Role of Frequency, Salience, and Habit Formation in Generating Savings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(3), pages 387-392, May.
    14. Oh, Joon-Hee & Johnston, Wesley J., 2014. "Credit lender–borrower relationship in the credit card market – Implications for credit risk management strategy and relationship marketing," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(6), pages 1086-1095.
    15. Shahidur R. Khandker & Hussain A. Samad, 2013. "Microfinance Growth and Poverty Reduction in Bangladesh: What Does the Longitudinal Data Say?," Working Papers 16, Institute of Microfinance (InM).
    16. Nguimkeu, Pierre, 2014. "A structural econometric analysis of the informal sector heterogeneity," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 175-191.
    17. Khandker, Shahidur R & Samad, Hussain A, 2016. "Bangladesh’s Achievement in Poverty Reduction: The Role of Microfinance Revisited," Working Papers 114, JICA Research Institute.
    18. Dorfleitner, Gregor & Oswald, Eva-Maria, 2016. "Repayment behavior in peer-to-peer microfinancing: Empirical evidence from Kiva," Review of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 45-59.

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