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Too Many Cooks Spoil the Broth: The Conflicting Impacts of Subsidies and Deposits on the Cost-Efficiency of Microfinance Institutions

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  • Anastasia Cozarenco
  • Valentina Hartarska
  • Ariane Szafarz

Abstract

The costs and benefits of subsidized microfinance are still a controversial topic. We evaluate how subsidies affect the cost-efficiency of microfinance institutions (MFIs). At the same time, we account for endogenous self-selection into the business models of credit-only versus credit-plus-deposit MFIs. Our findings draw a contrasting picture. First, they suggest that unsubsidized credit-plus-deposit MFIs have achieved optimal capacity and therefore constitute the most cost-efficient group of institutions in our sample. Second, the unsubsidized credit-only MFIs are the farthest away from their minimum cost. Between the two polar cases, there are subsidized institutions, among which the credit-only ones are closer to optimal capacity. Our results reveal the redundancy between subsidization and deposit-taking in microfinance. In conclusion, combining funds from donors and depositors tends to harm cost-efficiency.

Suggested Citation

  • Anastasia Cozarenco & Valentina Hartarska & Ariane Szafarz, 2019. "Too Many Cooks Spoil the Broth: The Conflicting Impacts of Subsidies and Deposits on the Cost-Efficiency of Microfinance Institutions," Working Papers CEB 19-001, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  • Handle: RePEc:sol:wpaper:2013/280911
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Microfinance; Cost efficiency; Scale economies; Subsidies; Deposit accounts;

    JEL classification:

    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology
    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • O16 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance
    • F35 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Foreign Aid

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