nep-mfd New Economics Papers
on Microfinance
Issue of 2010‒06‒11
three papers chosen by
Olivier Dagnelie
Instituto de Analisis Economico, CSIC

  1. Seasonal and extreme poverty in Bangladesh : evaluating an ultra-poor microfinance project By Khandker, Shahidur R.; Khalily, M. A. Baqui; Samad, Hussain A.
  2. Microfinance and Household Poverty Reduction: New evidence from India By Katsushi S. Imai; Thankom Arun; Samuel Kobina Annim
  3. Proposal for a New Economic Framework Based On Islamic Principles By Shaikh, Salman Ahmed

  1. By: Khandker, Shahidur R.; Khalily, M. A. Baqui; Samad, Hussain A.
    Abstract: Microfinance is often criticized for not adequately addressing seasonality and hard-core poverty. In Bangladesh, a program known as PRIME was introduced in 2006 to address both concerns. Unlike regular microfinance, PRIME introduces a microfinance scheme that offers a flexible repayment schedule and consumption smoothing, as well as production, loans. It targets the ultra-poor, many of whom are also seasonally poor, with a severe inability to smooth consumption during certain months of the year. Besides providing loans, PRIME offers extension and training services. This paper uses a quasi-experimental survey design to evaluate PRIME against regular microfinance programs. The results show that PRIME is more effective than regular microfinance in reaching the ultra-poor, as well as the seasonal poor. PRIME also helps reduce seasonal deprivation and extreme poverty. Although the program has demonstrated its promise, it is too early to conclude whether the accrued benefits are large enough to contain both seasonal and chronic poverty on a sustained basis.
    Keywords: Rural Poverty Reduction,Regional Economic Development,Food&Beverage Industry,Debt Markets
    Date: 2010–06–01
  2. By: Katsushi S. Imai (Economics, School of Social Science, University of Manchester, UK); Thankom Arun (Institute of Development and Policy Management, School of Environment and Development, University of Manchester & Lancashire Business School, University of Central Lancashire, UK); Samuel Kobina Annim (Economics, School of Social Science, University of Manchester, UK)
    Abstract: The objective of the present study is to examine whether household access to microfinance reduces poverty. Using national household data from India, treatment effects model is employed to estimate the poverty-reducing effects of MFIs loans for productive purposes, such as investment in agriculture or non-farm businesses on household poverty levels. These models take into account the endogenous binary treatment effects and sample selection bias associated with access to MFIs. Despite some limitations, such as those arising from potential unobservable important determinants of access to MFIs, significant positive effect of MFI productive loans on multidimensional welfare indicator has been confirmed. The significance of treatment "effects" coefficients have been verified by both Tobit and Propensity Score Matching models. In addition, we found that loans for productive purposes were more important for poverty reduction in rural than in urban areas. However in urban areas, simple access to MFIs has larger average poverty-reducing effects than the access to loans from MFIs for productive purposes. This leads to exploring service delivery opportunities that provide an additional avenue to monitor the usage of loans to enhance the outreach.
    Keywords: Microfinance, Poverty, Evaluation, India, Propensity Score Matching
    JEL: C21 I30 I38 O16 R51
    Date: 2010–04
  3. By: Shaikh, Salman Ahmed
    Abstract: This book provides a holistic socio-economic framework working in conformity with the Islamic principles. Chapter 2 builds the ground for the proposed framework by discussing the foundations of the ethical precepts of Islam. It discusses the thesis of religion, answers some of the questions in the comparative study of religion and tries to resolve few of the misconceptions about the faith of Islam. Chapter 3 outlines the economic teachings of Islam with regard to earning and spending. It discusses at length the ideals Islam set before its adherents in the ethical sphere of life. The ethical principles are discussed based on the study of relevant Quranic text and the narrations of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Chapter 4 studies the comparative economic systems. It analyzes Capitalism, Socialism, Mixed Economy and Islamic economic system. Chapter 5 introduces the salient features of the proposed economic framework with special focus on fiscal reforms. It discusses the potential of the institution of Zakat to meet fiscal needs of the government and to assist it in doing away with deficit financing, fiscal bleeding, crowding out private sector and reducing deadweight loss by parting the way with private sector so as to ensure market economy operating on its own as far as possible and playing an active regulatory role. Chapter 6 introduces the monetary reforms. It discusses how savings would feature despite discontinuation of interest, how inflation will be checked with central banks not having at their disposal conventional OMO, how liquidity will be managed in banking sector when a central bank wants to inject liquidity or mop up funds. How and to what extent the institution of Zakat would enable the government to meet its fiscal targets and does not crowd out private sector with public borrowing. How balance of payments and exchange rate stability can be managed in an interest free economy. If in the short term, the government or central bank needs alternative source of revenue other than Zakat, they can issue GDP linked bonds. This could replace T-bill and provide a base instrument for OMO and liquidity management in the banking and financial sector. Chapter 7 introduces the currently practiced Islamic Banking and Finance. Since Islamic economic principles have more prominently been used in banking and finance, much of the discussion centers on Islamic banking and finance in lieu of analyzing the existing practices and then in the next chapter, preferable alternatives in areas where shortcoming is observed and need for improvement is felt are suggested. Chapter 8 discusses the financial system in the proposed framework with the role of institutions and the discussion on comprehensive need fulfillment mechanisms to serve every major need of a sophisticated contemporary financial system. Some important novel changes are recommended, such as introduction of options in mortgage financing, which will allow the bank to separate the tenancy and sale contract in a distinctive way. This will still ensure that it locks the sale with the borrower or with the third party without making both contracts dependent on each other. It will benefit the bank as well as the borrower, who will have an option but not an obligation to buy the asset at maturity. The modified role of bank entering in a Mudarabah contract as a “Rabb-ul-maal” (investor) will ensure that the bank takes on operational risk. It will enable the resources to go into productive avenues rather than in financial instruments. This modification will generate employment and productive activities in the economy in a more direct manner. The division of Mudarabah corporate and Mudarabah consumer will target two very distinct markets and will result in channeling of funds from saving surplus units to saving-deficient units. Reforms in equity markets and alternatives for insurance are also suggested. Chapter 9 introduces feasibility and structure of Micro credit as an alternative for interest based micro finance. It discusses how the potential obstacles in the form of lack of trust, funding commitment, lack of collateral arrangement, lack of documentation etc would be handled.
    Keywords: Interest Free Economy; Islamic Economy; Islamic Economic System; Islamic Monetary Policy; Islamic Fiscal Policy; Interest; Zakat; Riba; Usury; Development; Redistribution; Economic Systems; Financial System; Financial Intermediation; Saving; Investment.
    JEL: E0 A1 H2 G0 B5
    Date: 2010–04–17

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