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Do microfinance rating assessments make sense? An analysis of the drivers of the MFI ratings


  • Leif Atle Beisland
  • Roy Mersland


Rating assessments of microfinance institutions are claimed to measure a combination of creditworthiness, trustworthiness and excellence in microfinance. Using a global dataset covering reports from 324 microfinance institutions, this study suggests that these ratings are mainly driven by size, profitability, and risk. The ratings do not seem to capture the double bottom-line objective of microfinance institutions, as our analyses are unable to prove any statistical relationship between microfinance ratings and the social objectives of these institutions. Moreover, the association between operational efficiency and microfinance ratings appears weak. Although there are some minor differences between the rating agencies, the overall results suggest that microfinance ratings convey information very similar to that communicated by traditional credit ratings.

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  • Leif Atle Beisland & Roy Mersland, 2011. "Do microfinance rating assessments make sense? An analysis of the drivers of the MFI ratings," Working Papers CEB 11-009, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  • Handle: RePEc:sol:wpaper:2013/78918

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Hartarska, Valentina M., 2005. "Governance and Performance of Microfinance Institutions in Central and Eastern Europe and the Newly Independent States," 2005 International Congress, August 23-27, 2005, Copenhagen, Denmark 24568, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    2. Hartarska, Valentina, 2005. "Governance and performance of microfinance institutions in Central and Eastern Europe and the Newly Independent States," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 33(10), pages 1627-1643, October.
    3. Valentina Hartarska & Denis Nadolnyak, 2007. "Do regulated microfinance institutions achieve better sustainability and outreach? Cross-country evidence," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(10), pages 1207-1222.
    4. Hartarska, Valentina M., 2005. "Rating in Microfinance: Cross Country Evidence," 2005 Annual Meeting, February 5-9, 2005, Little Rock, Arkansas 35647, Southern Agricultural Economics Association.
    5. Begoña Gutiérrez Nieto & Carlos Serrano Cinca, 2006. "Factors explaining the rating of Microfinance Institutions," Documentos de Trabajo dt2006-03, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales, Universidad de Zaragoza.
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    1. So Young Sohn & Yonghan Ju, 2023. "Mission Efficiency Analysis of For-Profit Microfinance Institutions with Categorical Output Variables," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 15(3), pages 1-12, February.

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