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Financial Sector Policy and the Poor : Selected Findings and Issues

  • Patrick Honohan

This paper presents new empirical evidence on how financial sector policy can help the poor. It is often thought that promotion of specialized microfinance institutions is the best or only way forward. However, a strong mainstream financial system is also pro-poor-perhaps even more so: while mainstream financial depth is measurably associated with lower poverty, for microfinance this is not yet so. The roles played by microfinance and mainstream finance in tackling poverty should be regarded as complementary and overlapping rather than as competing alternatives. The essential similarities between the two will become more evident as individual microfinance firms, or associations of firms, grow to the scale needed for sustainability. Policy design that recognizes the need for larger and stronger microfinance institutions poses no threat to the health of mainstream finance. Such a policy would not impose low interest rate ceilings; nevertheless, the goal of protecting the vulnerable from credit market abuses and prejudice should not be neglected in an effective package of policies favorable to the growth of both micro and mainstream finance.

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This book is provided by The World Bank in its series World Bank Publications with number 14874 and published in 2004-09.
ISBN: 0-8213-5967-3
Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbpubs:14874
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  1. Neven Valev & Felix Rioja, 2002. "Finance and the Sources of Growth at Various Stages of Economic Development," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper0217, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  2. 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.
  3. David G. Blanchflower & Phillip B. Levine & David J. Zimmerman, 1998. "Discrimination in the Small Business Credit Market," NBER Working Papers 6840, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Calomiris, Charles W & Kahn, Charles M & Longhofer, Stanley D, 1994. "Housing-Finance Intervention and Private Incentives: Helping Minorities and the Poor," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 26(3), pages 634-74, August.
  5. Greenwood, J. & Jovanovic, B., 1990. "Financial Development, Growth, And The Distribution Of Income," University of Western Ontario, The Centre for the Study of International Economic Relations Working Papers 9002, University of Western Ontario, The Centre for the Study of International Economic Relations.
  6. 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.
  7. Munnell, Alicia H. & Geoffrey M. B. Tootell & Lynn E. Browne & James McEneaney, 1996. "Mortgage Lending in Boston: Interpreting HMDA Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 25-53, March.
  8. Kevin C. Murdock & Thomas F. Hellmann & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 2000. "Liberalization, Moral Hazard in Banking, and Prudential Regulation: Are Capital Requirements Enough?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 147-165, March.
  9. Drew Dahl & Douglas D. Evanoff & Michael F. Spivey, 2000. "Does the Community Reinvestment Act influence lending? an analysis of changes in bank low-income mortgage activity," Working Paper Series WP-00-6, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  10. Fisman Raymond J, 2003. "Ethnic Ties and the Provision of Credit: Relationship-Level Evidence from African Firms," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 3(1), pages 1-21, October.
  11. Geoffrey M. Tootell, 1996. "Redlining in Boston: do mortgage lenders discriminate against neighborhoods?," Working Papers 96-6, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  12. Patrick Honohan, 2004. "Financial development, growth, and poverty: how close are the links?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3203, The World Bank.
  13. Patten, Richard H. & Rosengard, Jay k. & Johnston, Don JR., 2001. "Microfinance Success Amidst Macroeconomic Failure: The Experience of Bank Rakyat Indonesia During the East Asian Crisis," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 1057-1069, June.
  14. Lindley, James T & Selby, Edward B, Jr & Jackson, John D, 1984. "Racial Discrimination in the Provision of Financial Services," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(4), pages 735-41, September.
  15. Matin, Imran & Hulme, David, 2003. "Programs for the Poorest: Learning from the IGVGD Program in Bangladesh," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 647-665, March.
  16. Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 2003. "Halving Global Poverty," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(3), pages 3-22, Summer.
  17. Black, Harold & Schweitzer, Robert L & Mandell, Lewis, 1978. "Discrimination in Mortgage Lending," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 68(2), pages 186-91, May.
  18. Hoff, Karla & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1997. "Moneylenders and bankers: price-increasing subsidies in a monopolistically competitive market," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 429-462, April.
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