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From a supply gap to a demand gap? The risk and consequences of over-indebting the underbanked

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  • Jessica Schicks

Abstract

In the past, the microfinance industry focused mainly on growth and outreach. Addressing financial exclusion implied a huge supply gap. Recent over-indebtedness crises in several countries have shown that this gap can turn into over-supply. The industry urgently requires research to understand the magnitude and consequences of this shift. This chapter reveals the broad spectrum of consequences over-indebtedness can have on borrowers and other stakeholders, mainly MFIs. It emphasizes that over-indebtedness consequences reach far beyond the risk management concerns that MFIs and investors have on top of their mind. In a second step the chapter reviews the existing empirical research on microfinance over-indebtedness and examines how prevalent over-indebtedness is in microfinance markets today. It highlights the evidence for over-indebtedness in crisis markets and non-crisis markets, especially when markets mature. Only if the extent of the problem is known and its effects are properly understood, can the microfinance industry develop appropriate measures against over-indebtedness and adapt to the challenge of oversupply.

Suggested Citation

  • Jessica Schicks, 2011. "From a supply gap to a demand gap? The risk and consequences of over-indebting the underbanked," Working Papers CEB 11-046, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  • Handle: RePEc:sol:wpaper:2013/99192
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    1. Gianni Betti & Neil Dourmashkin & Mariacristina Rossi & Ya Ping Yin, 2007. "Consumer over-indebtedness in the EU: measurement and characteristics," Journal of Economic Studies, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 34(2), pages 136-156, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Dan Brockington & Nicola Banks, 2014. "Exploring the Success of BRAC Tanzania’s Microcredit Programme," Global Development Institute Working Paper Series 20214, GDI, The University of Manchester.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Microfinance; Microcredit; Supply Gap; Demand Gap; Over-Indebtedness; Customer Protection;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O16 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance
    • O50 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - General
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages

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