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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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    References listed on IDEAS

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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.
    2. Vogelgesang, Ulrike, 2003. "Microfinance in Times of Crisis: The Effects of Competition, Rising Indebtedness, and Economic Crisis on Repayment Behavior," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 31(12), pages 2085-2114, December.
    3. Marek Hudon, 2009. "Should Access to Credit be a Right?," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 84(1), pages 17-28, January.
    4. Karlan, Dean S. & Zinman, Jonathan, 2009. "Expanding Microenterprise Credit Access: Using Randomized Supply Decisions to Estimate the Impacts in Manila," CEPR Discussion Papers 7396, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Bridges, Sarah & Disney, Richard, 2010. "Debt and depression," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 388-403, May.
    6. Dean Karlan & Jonathan Zinman, 2010. "Expanding Credit Access: Using Randomized Supply Decisions to Estimate the Impacts," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 23(1), pages 433-464, January.
    7. Michael Hamp & Carolina Laureti, 2011. "Balancing flexibility and discipline in microfinance: Innovative financial products that benefit clients and service providers," Working Papers CEB 11-044, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    8. Beatriz Armendáriz & Ariane Szafarz, 2011. "On Mission Drift in Microfinance Institutions," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: The Handbook Of Microfinance, chapter 16, pages 341-366 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    9. Nava Ashraf & Dean Karlan & Wesley Yin, 2006. "Tying Odysseus to the Mast: Evidence From a Commitment Savings Product in the Philippines," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(2), pages 635-672.
    10. Marc Labie, 2007. "Réflexions préliminaires pour une approche éthique de la gestion des organisations en microfinance," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/14271, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    11. Jessica Schicks, 2010. "Microfinance Over-Indebtedness: Understanding its drivers and challenging the common myths," Working Papers CEB 10-048, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
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    Cited by:

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

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Microfinance; Microcredit; Supply Gap; Demand Gap; Over-Indebtedness; Customer Protection;

    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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