Savaging Dambisa Moyo's Dead Aid yesterday left an ugly aftertaste. To cleanse my palette, I offer a list of fantastic books on microfinance. All are written by intelligent and deeply thoughtful people who have immersed themselves in their subject. They think and write with clarity and sensitivity. In no particular order:
CGD Policy Blogs
I worked this week on chapter 6, in which I survey academic studies on the impact of microcredit.
This table is from CGAP's Financial Institutions with a Double Bottom Line report. It shows the estimated number of savings and loan accounts at various kinds of "alternative financial institutions" in the entire developing world. The first column is for microfinance institutions (MFIs).
Last Thursday night, CGD moved all of its blogs to a new software platform, which is still under (re)construction. Those of you watching on the RSS channel may have been bewildered by a spray of August 2008 posts from young people in Liberia. Sorry about that. Circumstances beyond my control, etc. Things are returning to normal.
Check out these two New York Times headlines:
In chapter 2 and in this "what I'm reading" post, I quote the work of Helen Todd, who with her husband spent a year, basically 1992, living amid and studying in two villages in Bangladesh. Her book about the experience is a superbly written ethnographic study, albeit of an unrepresentative sample that excludes women who dropped out of Grameen Bank after less than ten years.
You might know that I run the Commitment to Development Index, which rates rich countries on how much they are helping poor ones, and involves collecting lots of data (of variable quality) from around the world, making debatable judgments about how to aggregate it, then publishing it annually with somewhat artificial confidence and fanfare in order to broadcast an important message.
I attended a morning session of a World Bank conference on Measurement, Promotion, and Impact of Access to Financial Services. Some highlights:
Microfinance is a modern phenomenon, right? Maybe thirty years old?