Banking on the poor? Branch placement and nonfarm rural development in Bangladesh
The authors assess whether the placement of bank branches in Bangladesh responds to unexploited potential for nonfarm rural development. They compare the branch location choices of a large new private nonprofit bank, the famous Grameen Bank, with those of more traditional government banks. They allow for heterogeneity in household characteristics conducive to success in nonfarm activities when measuring the potential gains from switching out of farming. Farmers are both poor and poorly equipped for success at nonfarm enterprises. Even so, seemingly feasible, but unrealized gains from switching are evident. Grameen Bank is attracted to areas where those gains favor the poor. Other banks put more weight on potential gains to nonpoor.
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