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The Impact of Microcredit on the Poor in Bangladesh: Revisiting the Evidence

  • Roodman, David
  • Morduch, Jonathan

We replicate and reanalyse the most influential study of microcredit impacts (Pitt and Khandker, 1998). That study was celebrated for showing that microcredit reduces poverty, a much hoped-for possibility (though one not confirmed by recent randomized controlled trials). We show that the original results on poverty reduction disappear after dropping outliers, or when using a robust linear estimator. Using a new program for estimation of mixed process maximum likelihood models, we show how assumptions critical for the original analysis, such as error normality, are contradicted by the data. We conclude that questions about impact cannot be answered in these data.

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File URL: http://hermes-ir.lib.hit-u.ac.jp/rs/bitstream/10086/25933/1/wp2013-2.pdf
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Paper provided by Center for Economic Institutions, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University in its series CEI Working Paper Series with number 2013-02.

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Length: 41, 14 p.
Date of creation: Jun 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hit:hitcei:2013-02
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  1. B. D. McCullough & H. D. Vinod, 2003. "Verifying the Solution from a Nonlinear Solver: A Case Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 873-892, June.
  2. Suresh de Mel & David McKenzie & Christopher Woodruff, 2008. "Returns to Capital in Microenterprises: Evidence from a Field Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(4), pages 1329-1372, November.
  3. Banerjee, Abhijit & Duflo, Esther, 2008. "The Experimental Approach to Development Economics," CEPR Discussion Papers 7037, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1997. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(3), pages 557-586, May.
  5. M. M. Pitt & S. R. Khandker, 2002. "Credit Programmes for the Poor and Seasonality in Rural Bangladesh," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(2), pages 1-24.
  6. Orazio Attanasio & Britta Augsburg & Ralph de Haas & Emla Fitzsimons & Heike Harmgart, 2011. "Group lending or individual lending? Evidence from a randomised field experiment in Mongolia," IFS Working Papers W11/20, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  7. Angelucci, Manuela & Karlan, Dean S. & Zinman, Jonathan, 2013. "Win Some Lose Some? Evidence from a Randomized Microcredit Program Placement Experiment by Compartamos Banco," CEPR Discussion Papers 9506, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Joshua D. Angrist & Alan B. Krueger, 2001. "Instrumental Variables and the Search for Identification: From Supply and Demand to Natural Experiments," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(4), pages 69-85, Fall.
  9. David McKenzie & Christopher Woodruff, 2008. "Experimental Evidence on Returns to Capital and Access to Finance in Mexico," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 22(3), pages 457-482, November.
  10. Kleibergen, Frank & Paap, Richard, 2006. "Generalized reduced rank tests using the singular value decomposition," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 133(1), pages 97-126, July.
  11. Christopher F Baum & Mark E. Schaffer & Steven Stillman, 2007. "Enhanced routines for instrumental variables/GMM estimation and testing," CERT Discussion Papers 0706, Centre for Economic Reform and Transformation, Heriot Watt University.
  12. Maren Duvendack & Richard Palmer-Jones, 2012. "High Noon for Microfinance Impact Evaluations: Re-investigating the Evidence from Bangladesh," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 48(12), pages 1864-1880, December.
  13. James L. Heckman, 1999. "Causal Parameters and Policy Analysis in Economcs: A Twentieth Century Retrospective," NBER Working Papers 7333, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Angus Deaton, 2010. "Instruments, Randomization, and Learning about Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(2), pages 424-55, June.
  15. B.D. McCullough & Kerry Anne McGeary & Teresa D. Harrison, 2008. "Do economics journal archives promote replicable research?," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 41(4), pages 1406-1420, November.
  16. Pitt, Mark M. & Khandker, Shahidur R., 2012. "Replicating replication : due diligence in Roodman and Morduch's replication of Pitt and Khandker (1998)," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6273, The World Bank.
  17. Manuela Angelucci & Dean Karlan & Jonathan Zinman, 2013. "Win Some Lose Some? Evidence from a Randomized Microcredit Program Placement Experiment by Compartamos Banco," Working Papers 1026, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  18. White, Halbert, 1982. "Maximum Likelihood Estimation of Misspecified Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 1-25, January.
  19. Jonathan Morduch, 1999. "The Microfinance Promise," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(4), pages 1569-1614, December.
  20. Mark M. Pitt, 2012. "Gunfight at the Not OK Corral: Reply to ‘High Noon for Microfinance’," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 48(12), pages 1886-1891, December.
  21. Matthieu Chemin, 2008. "The Benefits and Costs of Microfinance: Evidence from Bangladesh," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(4), pages 463-484.
  22. 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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