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Returns to Islamic Microfinance: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment in Pakistan

Author

Listed:
  • Maazullah,

    () (ISS, Erasmus University Rotterdam)

  • Bedi, Arjun S.

    () (ISS, Erasmus University Rotterdam)

Abstract

The global microfinance movement is driven by the claim that once poor micro-entrepreneurs are provided access to capital, they will be able to generate high returns. The existing evidence on returns to capital is mixed and too limited to substantiate this claim. This paper reports on a field experiment conducted in Pakistan, in co-operation with Akhuwat microfinance, in which interest free loans were randomly provided to microenterprises. We find that treatment leads to a significant increase in working capital and in business profits. Using randomized treatment as an instrument for capital, we find average monthly returns to capital of 8.6 to 11.9 a month. These returns are substantially higher than the interest rates charged by microfinance institutions in Pakistan.

Suggested Citation

  • Maazullah, & Bedi, Arjun S., 2017. "Returns to Islamic Microfinance: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment in Pakistan," IZA Discussion Papers 10965, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10965
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Suresh de Mel & David McKenzie & Christopher Woodruff, 2009. "Are Women More Credit Constrained? Experimental Evidence on Gender and Microenterprise Returns," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(3), pages 1-32, July.
    2. de Mel, Suresh & McKenzie, David J. & Woodruff, Christopher, 2009. "Measuring microenterprise profits: Must we ask how the sausage is made?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(1), pages 19-31, January.
    3. 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.
    4. de Mel, Suresh & McKenzie, David & Woodruff, Christopher, 2014. "Business training and female enterprise start-up, growth, and dynamics: Experimental evidence from Sri Lanka," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 199-210.
    5. Banerjee, Abhijit V & Newman, Andrew F, 1993. "Occupational Choice and the Process of Development," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(2), pages 274-298, April.
    6. Bruno Crépon & Florencia Devoto & Esther Duflo & William Parienté, 2015. "Estimating the Impact of Microcredit on Those Who Take It Up: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment in Morocco," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(1), pages 123-150, January.
    7. Christopher Udry & Santosh Anagol, 2006. "The Return to Capital in Ghana," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 388-393, May.
    8. Lisa Daniels, 2001. "Testing alternative measures of microenterprise profits and net worth," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(5), pages 599-614.
    9. Jonathan Morduch, 1999. "The Microfinance Promise," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(4), pages 1569-1614, December.
    10. Suresh de Mel & David McKenzie & Christopher Woodruff, 2009. "Returns to Capital in Microenterprises: Evidence from a Field Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(1), pages 423-423.
    11. Beatriz Armendáriz & Jonathan Morduch, 2010. "The Economics of Microfinance, Second Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 2, volume 1, number 0262014106, March.
    12. Abhijit Banerjee & Esther Duflo & Rachel Glennerster & Cynthia Kinnan, 2015. "The Miracle of Microfinance? Evidence from a Randomized Evaluation," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(1), pages 22-53, January.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    returns to capital; microfinance; microenterprises; randomized experiment; Akhuwat microfinance;

    JEL classification:

    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • O16 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments

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