IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Aspiration Paradox in Indian Micro-Finance: A Difficulty and an Opportunity for Debate

Listed author(s):
  • Wendy Olsen

This paper examines the paradox that a borrower's status aspirations may contribute to a situation in which their borrowings exceed their capacity to repay. This paradox was first described by Thorstein Veblen, and has been fleshed out by Pierre Bourdieu. Thus in the theory of consumer culture there are strands which may be of use in planning and managing micro-finance and rural banking. Field visits in southern Andhra Pradesh suggest that one example might be the use of microfinance to purchase a cow. In this paper I flesh out a theory of micro-finance users' strategic thinking. Both individual-level and social aspects of the situation are considered carefully. The epistemology and ethics of micro-finance are thus a matter of continual re-negotiation and deliberation. The policy situation is one in which micro-finance users and providers need to discuss the situation. The aspiration paradox could lead to default and suffering.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by BWPI, The University of Manchester in its series Brooks World Poverty Institute Working Paper Series with number 4208.

in new window

Date of creation: 2008
Handle: RePEc:bwp:bwppap:4208
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Humanities Bridgeford Street, Oxford Road,Manchester, M13 9PL

Phone: +44(0)7717 881567
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bwp:bwppap:4208. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Rowena Harding)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.