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Expanding Microenterprise Credit Access: Using Randomized Supply Decisions to Estimate the Impacts in Manila

  • Karlan, Dean S.
  • Zinman, Jonathan

Microcredit seeks to promote business growth and improve well-being by expanding access to credit. We use a field experiment and follow-up survey to measure impacts of a credit expansion for microentrepreneurs in Manila. The effects are diffuse, heterogeneous, and surprising. Although there is some evidence that profits increase, the mechanism seems to be that businesses shrink by shedding unproductive workers. Overall, borrowing households substitute away from labor (in both family and outside businesses), and into education. We also find substitution away from formal insurance, along with increases in access to informal risk-sharing mechanisms. Our treatment effects are stronger for groups that are not typically targeted by microlenders: male and higher-income entrepreneurs. In all, our results suggest that microcredit works broadly through risk management and investment at the household level, rather than directly through the targeted businesses.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 7396.

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Date of creation: Aug 2009
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7396
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  1. Jeffrey R. Kling & Jeffrey B. Liebman & Lawrence F. Katz, 2005. "Experimental Analysis of Neighborhood Effects," NBER Working Papers 11577, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Jonathan Zinman, 2008. "Restricting consumer credit access: household survey evidence on effects around the Oregon rate cap," Working Papers 08-32, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  3. Dean Karlan & Jonathan Zinman, 2010. "Expanding Credit Access: Using Randomized Supply Decisions to Estimate the Impacts," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 23(1), pages 433-464, January.
  4. Coleman, Brett E., 1999. "The impact of group lending in Northeast Thailand," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 105-141, October.
  5. J. Copestake & P. Dawson & J.-P. Fanning & A. McKay & K. Wright-Revolledo, 2005. "Monitoring the Diversity of the Poverty Outreach and Impact of Microfinance: A Comparison of Methods Using Data from Peru," Development Policy Review, Overseas Development Institute, vol. 23(6), pages 703-723, November.
  6. Joseph P. Kaboski & Robert M. Townsend, 2012. "The Impact of Credit on Village Economies," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 98-133, April.
  7. Mark M. Pitt & Shahidur R. Khandker & Omar Haider Chowdhury & Daniel L. Millimet, 2003. "Credit Programs for the Poor And the Health Status of Children in Rural Bangladesh," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 44(1), pages 87-118, February.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
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