Does Microfinance Reduce Poverty in Bangladesh? New Evidence from Household Panel Data
The study examines whether loans from microfinance institutions (MFI) reduce poverty in Bangladesh drawing upon the nationally representative household panel with four rounds from 1997 to 2004. The effects of general microfinance loans and loans for productive purposes on income, food consumption and women's Body Mass Index are estimated. Overall effects of MFI loans on income and food consumption were positive and the purpose of the loan is important in predicting which household welfare indicator is improved. Alternative estimation methods confirm a positive impact of MFI loans on food consumption growth, which supports the poverty reducing effects of microfinance in Bangladesh.
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