Ideas to Action:

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CGD Policy Blogs


First Randomized Trial of Microsavings

I fear I got swept up in the disproportionate focus on credit in pouncing to blog the first randomized trial of microcredit while neglecting its counterpart for microsavings. I learned about it from Jonathan Morduch's blog in February just as I was launching this one. (Hat tip to Daniel Radcliffe for nudging it back up my reading list.)

Twittering, Tentatively

I just set myself up on Twitter as davidroodman. I'm not really atwitter about twittering yet, but maybe that will change once I get the hang of it. For starters, I have installed Twitter Tools to tweet my blog posts. If this works, then when I click Publish to finish this post, I'll get my first tweet. I feel like I'm jumping out of the nest for the first time...

Update: It worked!

Why I'm Afraid to Fund Group Microcredit

Because of circumstances beyond their control (sickness, flood, drought, theft and so on), lack of skills and knowledge or taking bad decisions, a proportion of poor borrowers encounter great difficulties in repaying loans. While MFIs [microfinance institutions] suggest that such problems are overcome through ‘social support’ in some painless way this is often not the case---talk to the dropouts of MFIs!

The Dangers of Overlending in India

Siddhartha Chowdri, ACCION International's Country Manager for India, has posted a warning on the blog of the Center for Financial Inclusion about the dangers of overheated competition and growth in microcredit in India. Some people, he says, are borrowing too much, from too many microfinance institutions (MFIs). The resulting situation, as in Andhra Pradesh a few years ago, is politically combustible.


One perspective through which I am judging microfinance is Amartya Sen's notion of development as freedom. What do we know about when microfinance gives people more agency in their lives and when it, contrarily, reduces their control over their circumstances (the main worry being debt traps)? With regard to microfinance, "empowerment" usually refers specifically to helping women break the bonds of sexism within their families and societies.