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Taking Stock of the Evidence on Microfinancial Interventions

Francisco J. Buera, Joseph P. Kaboski, Yongseok Shin

Chapter in NBER book The Economics of Poverty Traps (2019), Christopher B. Barrett, Michael R. Carter, and Jean-Paul Chavas, editors (p. 189 - 221)
Conference held June 28-29, 2016
Published in December 2018 by University of Chicago Press
© 2019 by the National Bureau of Economic Research

We review the empirical evidence on microfinance and asset grants to the ultra poor or microentrepreneurs, and assess our ability to account for this evidence using quantitative theory. Properly executed, these interventions can help segments of the population increase their income and consumption, but neither literature gives much reason to believe that such interventions can lead to wide-scale, transformative impacts akin to escaping aggregate poverty traps.

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This chapter first appeared as NBER working paper w22674, Taking Stock of the Evidence on Micro-Financial Interventions, Francisco J. Buera, Joseph P. Kaboski, Yongseok Shin
Commentary on this chapter: Comment, Stephen C. Smith
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Buera, Kaboski, and Shin w21107 Entrepreneurship and Financial Frictions: A Macro-Development Perspective
Duflo, Banerjee, Glennerster, and Kinnan w18950 The Miracle of Microfinance? Evidence from a Randomized Evaluation
 
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