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Ireland's peculiar microfinance revolution, c. 1836-1845


  • McLaughlin, Eoin
  • Pecchenino, Rowena


In the decade before the famine, Ireland experienced a boom in Microfinance Institutions (MFIs). This paper analyses the motivations of MFI proponents and practitioners, and finds evidence linking the boom in MFIs with the introduction of the poor law in 1838. Many contemporary writers saw microfinance as a complex tax avoidance/reduction scheme that could lessen the burden on rate payers by helping the poor help themselves. The link between MFIs and the poor law is confirmed by an econometric analysis of MFIs at the level of the poor law union.

Suggested Citation

  • McLaughlin, Eoin & Pecchenino, Rowena, 2019. "Ireland's peculiar microfinance revolution, c. 1836-1845," eabh Papers 19-01, The European Association for Banking and Financial History (EABH).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:eabhps:1901

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Glaser, Stephanie, 2017. "A review of spatial econometric models for count data," Hohenheim Discussion Papers in Business, Economics and Social Sciences 19-2017, University of Hohenheim, Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences.
    2. KONDO Keisuke, 2016. "Introduction to Spatial Econometric Analysis: Creating spatially lagged variables in Stata," Discussion papers 16901, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
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    More about this item


    microfinance; inequality; development; Ireland;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • H75 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Government: Health, Education, and Welfare
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • N23 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N83 - Economic History - - Micro-Business History - - - Europe: Pre-1913

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