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Microfinance Performance and Informal Institutions: A Cross-country Analysis


  • Luminita Postelnicu
  • Niels Hermes


This paper investigates the relationship between the extent to which informal institutions are developed at the country-level and the financial and social performance of MFIs, using data from institutions active in 100 countries. Based on the theoretical literature discussing the economic role of informal institutions such as trust, beliefs, norms and values we hypothesize that microfinance is more successful, both in terms of their financial and social aims, in countries with stronger informal institutions. We test this hypothesis using various direct and indirect measures of informal institutions and link them to measures of financial and social performance of MFIs. Our empirical results are generally supportive to our hypothesis.

Suggested Citation

  • Luminita Postelnicu & Niels Hermes, 2015. "Microfinance Performance and Informal Institutions: A Cross-country Analysis," Working Papers CEB 15-032, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  • Handle: RePEc:sol:wpaper:2013/208318

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    Cited by:

    1. Delaram Najmaei Lonbani & Bram De Rock, 2020. "The performance of microfinance institutions: An analysis of the local and legal constraints," Working Papers CEB 20-011, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    2. Solomon Bizuayehu Wassie & Hitoshi Kusakari & Masahiro Sumimoto, 2019. "Performance of Microfinance Institutions in Ethiopia: Integrating Financial and Social Metrics," Social Sciences, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(4), pages 1-13, April.
    3. Amin Karimu & Samuel Salia & Javed G. Hussain & Ishmael Tingbani, 2021. "Are competitive microfinance services worth regulating? Evidence from microfinance institutions in Sub‐Saharan Africa," International Journal of Finance & Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(1), pages 476-492, January.
    4. Chmelíková, Gabriela & Krauss, Annette & Dvouletý, Ondřej, 2019. "Performance of microfinance institutions in Europe—Does social capital matter?," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 68(C).
    5. Aguinaga, Paulina & Cassar, Alessandra & Graham, Jennifer & Skora, Lauren & Wydick, Bruce, 2019. "Raising achievement among microentrepreneurs: An experimental test of goals, incentives, and support groups in Medellin, Colombia," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 161(C), pages 79-97.
    6. Leif Atle Beisland & Bert D’Espallier & Roy Mersland, 2019. "The Commercialization of the Microfinance Industry: Is There a ‘Personal Mission Drift’ Among Credit Officers?," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 158(1), pages 119-134, August.
    7. Liñares-Zegarra, José & Wilson, John O.S., 2018. "The size and growth of microfinance institutions," The British Accounting Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 199-213.
    8. Panibratov, Andrei & Chen, Xinchuan, 2018. "The role of informal institutions in the internationalization process of Chinese and Russian firms," Working Papers 15115, Graduate School of Management, St. Petersburg State University.
    9. Rahul Nilakantan & Deepak Iyengar & Samar K. Datta & Shashank Rao, 0. "On Ethical Violations in Microfinance Backed Small Businesses: Family and Household Welfare," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 0, pages 1-18.

    More about this item


    Microfinance; social capital; trust; norms; values; culture; financial performance; social performance;
    All these keywords.

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