The research, published in the Journal of Development Economics, is the first to examine the relationship between microfinance institutions and the larger economy. The findings could help lenders establish more successful microfinance operations, said Christian Ahlin, MSU associate professor of economics.
Ahlin and colleagues from New York University and the University of Minnesota examined the experiences of 373 microbanks worldwide. Because borrowers of microloans typically are third-world farmers or operators of tiny businesses in rural, isolated settings, it wasn’t clear how they are linked to the larger economy, he said.
Ahlin was surprised to find that as the larger economy grew, the microbanks’ profit margins grew as well, nearly one-for-one. For example, if the economic growth rate increased 5 percent, a typical microbank’s profit margin went up by 5 percentage points.
“The finding of this study is not that context is everything, but that it does help explain significant differences in performance of the microbanks,” Ahlin said.
According to the study, microbanks generally grow more successfully in countries with less of a manufacturing base, such as Nigeria and Mongolia, as opposed to more industrialized nations such as China and Indonesia. Ahlin said this is likely because manufacturing jobs tend to crowd out the more entrepreneurial-related jobs supported by microloans.
The researchers also found evidence that better developed governing institutions can impact microfinance business negatively – by driving up costs, for example – suggesting that borrowers may benefit from a hands-off regulatory approach.
Finally, microfinance institutions generally cover costs more easily in countries with a per-capita income of about $6,000 – or countries “that are not too poor, but not too rich either,” Ahlin said. In extremely poor countries, he said, there may be a lack of education to run a microenterprise and little demand for goods beyond basic food and medicine.
But that doesn’t mean lenders should steer clear of the most impoverished nations, Ahlin said. On the contrary: The research findings could help support the case for more sustained donor support of microfinance in those areas, he said.
“Although covering costs internally may be harder,” Ahlin said, “the impact could be greater in these poorer countries.”
Michigan State University has been advancing knowledge and transforming lives through innovative teaching, research and outreach for more than 150 years. MSU is known internationally as a major public university with global reach and extraordinary impact. Its 17 degree-granting colleges attract scholars worldwide who are interested in combining education with practical problem solving.
Christian Ahlin | EurekAlert!
Smart Data Transformation – Surfing the Big Wave
02.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Informationstechnik FIT
Climate change could outpace EPA Lake Champlain protections
18.11.2016 | University of Vermont
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine
07.12.2016 | Life Sciences
07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine